Laos: funeral disrupted, education denied

On 24 June, a village chief forced a Christian family into a Buddhist funeral and five church leaders were arrested. They are currently being held handcuffed and with their feet in wooden stocks.

Mrs Chan died last Saturday morning. Her family immediately obtained permission from the village chief to bury their mother on their own personal property since Christians were denied burial rights in the village cemetery. On Sunday evening the village chief, along with the village’s Communist party secretary, reversed the decision and banned the mourning gathering as well as the burial ceremony until all of her sons and daughters sign an affidavit to recant their Christian faith. They refused.

The funeral service was then suspended, while a church leader appealed to the district chief. Yesterday, with Mrs Chan’s body beginning to decompose, the village police and the village military force went to her house and arrested the church leaders present.

Thirty minutes later, the village chief led the Buddhist monks and relatives of Mrs. Chan into the deceased person’s house and conducted a Buddhist ceremony and then took the body of Mrs. Chan to the village cemetery.

In May 2014 the same village chief declared that, by becoming Christian, three female teenagers had forfeited their right to an education. Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) were told that they would not be permitted to sit their examinations.