There are 1.3 million Christians in Nepal from a population of 30.3 million.
What does persecution look like in Nepal?
In Nepal, converts from Hinduism are put under the most pressure; they are viewed as deviating from the faith of the ancestors, and therefore breaking with their culture and their national identity. Converts—and members of Protestant churches—experience pressure from family, friends, community and local authorities. Roman Catholic churches, as well as churches where more foreigners attend, often have fewer issues.
Nepal has a great deal of political instability, driven by governmental infighting as well as a constant push-and-pull between powerful neighbours China and India. Hindu extremists occasionally take advantage of this fact by attacking Christians.
There is also an anti-conversion law in place in Nepal, which has been used to expel foreign citizens recently. This law can be broadly applied, and since it says that anyone who causes an individual to convert to a different religion can be imprisoned, fined or deported, it has been used to target Christians. In some areas, Christians were also left out of COVID-19 relief that the government provided, re-emphasizing their status as second-class citizens.
Christians who convert from Hinduism are at most risk in Nepal. Often this is worse in rural areas than in urban settings. Additionally, all Christians are at risk of accusations under the anti-conversion law.
“In my village they do not allow me to fetch water from the village well, and we are not allowed to even touch the handle of the water pump. Often, I went secretly at night to fetch water.”Bhumika
What has changed compared to last year?
Nepal fell two spots from 2020 to the 2021 World Watch List—and yet, persecution actually rose. But persecution rose worldwide, so it means Nepal is lower on the list. Pressure is high for Christians in every sphere of life, particularly in their private and national lives. This shows how restrictive life is for Christian converts from Hinduism, and how much the governing authorities make life difficult for followers of Christ.
Open Doors works through church partners and volunteers in Nepal. The ministry is focused in several areas, such as Bible and Christian material distribution, training for church leaders and Christians (including persecution preparedness training) socio-economic aid (including emergency aid for COVID-19) legal help and advocacy, and special projects as requested by the local church.
- Pray that Christians in Nepal will have wisdom to know how to share their faith safely, and boldness to continue sharing the gospel. Pray God will soften the hearts of those enforcing the restrictions on evangelism, and that He might draw them to Himself through the courageous witness of our brothers and sisters.
- Pray for Christian women in Nepal who face persecution from their family members. Many are beaten, threatened, not allowed to go to church, rejected and left alone. Please pray that, with God’s strength, these women will continue to stand strong in their faith, and through them God would bring their entire families to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for believers who live in very remote villages. It is difficult for our local partners to contact them, and when they go through persecution, it can be difficult for our partners to reach them quickly. Pray for the Christians in these villages, that God would strengthen them and provide their needs.
Almighty God, we pray for our sisters and brothers who follow You in Nepal. We ask You would protect and sustain their faith in the midst of constant pressure. We pray for those Christians living in places where they are discriminated against or ostracized for their faith in Christ. We also pray for people who are targeted because they share Your gospel with a hungry world. We pray You would rescue Your people and hear their cries. In Jesus’ name, Amen.