Religious freedom in Laos

The Lao Constitution guarantees religious freedom; however, this is often restricted by local governments in an effort to maintain unity among faith groups. The government openly favours Buddhism, despite the separation of Church and state in Laos, and has  limited the freedom to practice the religion of ones choice to those who act within the confines of the law. Although proselytizing, producing religious literature, owning property, building churches or mosques, and corresponding with foreign organizations are legal, officials are able to impose limitations on religious groups that take part in such activities.

Religious studies are not available in public schools, and there are no private faith based schools in Laos. Churches, temples and mosques provide religious education for children.

Christians have reported interference by officials during services and violence against minority religions. Often those responsible are not punished, but are released following government interference on their behalf. Persecution in northern Laos is particularly severe; however, Christians in the South are able to consistently appeal discriminatory acts endured at the local level and achieve a positive outcome.

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