Thursday, July 23, 2015

Anti-Proselytizing Provision In Nepal Draft Constitution Creates Controversy

Reuters reports that on June 30, the government of Nepal released a preliminary draft of its first republican constitution. A new constitution was called for in a 2006 peace agreement with Maoist rebels that ended a 10-year civil war, but the process for producing and approving it has remained controversial. Yesterday's Christianity Daily reports that Christians and Muslims in the largely Hindu country are critical of a provision in the proposed new charter that prohibits religious proselytizing.  The draft provides:
No one shall behave, act, or undertake activities that breach public order or break public peace/peace in the community; and no one shall attempt to change or convert someone from one religion to another, or disturb/jeopardise the religion of others, and such acts/activities shall be punishable by law.
The provision responds in part to charges by the pro-Hindu Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal that Christians have engaged in mass forced conversions.