Chin refugees in India want to stop Burmese religious conversion law

June 28, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Chin refugeesMumbai, 19 June, 2014: The Chin refugee community in Delhi have garnered more than two thousand signatures asking the government of Myanmar to scrap Religious Conversion Law. Yesterday Christian Burmese community handed over the file to President Thein Sein for his consideration, by submitting it to the Myanmar Embassy in Delhi.

The Burmese government has published the draft “Religious Conversion Law” in state-run media on 27 May 2014.

This draft law sets out a process for applying for official permission to convert from one religion to another. It grants township-level officials to determine whether an applicant has exercised free will in choosing to change religion.

Those found to be applying for conversion “with the intent of insulting or destroying a religion” could be punished by up to two years’ imprisonment, raising the prospect of arbitrary arrest and detention for those wishing to convert from Theravada Buddhism – the faith of the majority in Myanmar – to a minority religion, or no religion at all.

Compelling an individual to convert to another religion through “undue influence or pressure” could carry a one-year jail penalty.

This piece of draft legislation appears to legitimize the views of those promoting hate-speech and inciting violence against Christians, Muslims and other minorities, and if adopted, will further institutionalize discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities.

The text was presented by a formation of extremist Buddhist monks, who are fighting for the protection of “race, religion and belief ,” and provides strong limits on conversions and religious freedom. (NC)

– asianews

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