Sharing the gospel may be set to become an illegal activity in Nepal after an ‘anti-conversion’ Bill was passed in parliament.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a religious freedom charity, has said it is “deeply concerned” about the Bill – which criminalises the ‘hurting of religious sentiment’.
Anyone from Nepal caught committing an offence faces up to five years in prison and a £600 fine.
CSW believes the wording of the Bill is similar to blasphemy laws in Pakistan where people can be given the death penalty for insulting another’s religion.
In a statement, the religious freedom charity said these laws are “poorly defined” and are similiar to those in other countries that have been “misused to foster social intolerance and violence towards peaceful religious activities, and to falsely accuse religious minorities – especially Muslims and Christians – of forcefully converting others”.
“Decades of misuse of the blasphemy laws have resulted in a situation where even voicing disagreement with these laws can lead to violence.”
Speaking for CSW, Kiri Kandhwende highlighted a case in 2016 where eight Nepali Christians were arrested and charged with attempting to convert children after sharing their faith by distributing a booklet about Jesus.
The charity reports that the Bill contains a clause which states that nobody should convert the religion of another person or encourage such acts.
It has urged Christians to pray for Nepali MP Lokmani Dhakal, who is challenging the Bill.
Dhakal told Nepal’s Parliament: “It seems very clear to me that this country when preparing the civil code has forgotten it is a signatory to international treaties that protect the freedom of religion and human rights”.
The Bill is expected to become law after it receives approval from the President.