MEXICO: Over 100 Protestants Displaced for Their Faith

07 May 2024

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Over 100 Protestants were forced to flee from two neighbouring villages on 26 April, after village leaders cut off their electricity, vandalised and blocked access to their church and some of their homes and posted guards at the entry points to the villages.

Human rights violations linked to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) have been ongoing and severe in the two neighbouring villages since 2015. Local authorities have repeatedly attempted to force members of the religious minority to participate in religious festivals, including through financial donations, lighting candles and actively participating in acts of worship. Despite detailed documentation of the case dating back to 2015, the municipal government continues to deny that the incidents in the two villages are linked to FoRB.

In December 2022, a member of the church was admitted to hospital in a critical condition after being tied to a tree and beaten by village leaders. While she survived the attack, she continues to suffer health challenges related to her ordeal. Other members of the community have been arbitrarily detained, beaten, barred from accessing medical care, sacked from their jobs, blocked from burying their dead, and had their lands arbitrarily confiscated. Since 2018, religious minority children have been barred from attending the local school.

In March, the pastor and other church leaders from this church were arbitrarily detained for 48 hours. In early April, village leaders sanctioned the takeover of five plots of land belonging to members of the church, cutting down trees, removing stones, and destroying their crops.

One hundred and thirty-nine people, including five infants and seventy children under the age of 17, all of whom attend the local Baptist church, sought sanctuary in a government office, where they are requesting action from the government to allow them to return to their homes and practise their faith freely. According to sources, local Protestant churches in the area are providing humanitarian aid to the group and have joined in their call for the government to respond.


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