Friday, January 23, 2015

USCIRF Criticizes Pending Legislation In Burma

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in a press release yesterday strongly condemned a package of race and religion bills being considered by Burma's Parliament. USCIRF argued that the bills restrict religious freedom and discriminate against non-Buddhists, saying:
The Religious Conversion Bill would force those seeking to convert to give to the newly created Registration Boards an extensive list of personal information, answer intrusive questions, and wait 90 days for approval.
The Interfaith Marriage Bill imposes restrictions on marriages between non-Buddhist men and Buddhist women, including a 14-day waiting period during which time anyone can object to the marriage, and the court reviewing the objections has the power to deny the marriage.  Non-Buddhist men are denied numerous rights in the case of divorce and face criminal penalties if they ask their Buddhist wife to convert.  Under the bill, non-Buddhist men also bear most of the financial and/or criminal penalties, including prison sentences.