What does persecution look like in Bhutan?
Since all Bhutanese citizens are expected to follow Buddhism, converts to Christianity can be exposed to harsh treatment from their family and local community in attempts to pressurize them into renouncing their faith. This includes losing their jobs or being disinherited. Some Christians are falsely accused of being bribed to convert. Being ostracized by family makes an enormous difference in a Bhutanese person's life, since the culture is very communal, and the protection of family is crucial.
No churches have official state recognition, meaning that any Christians holding a service together are technically worshipping illegally. Local authorities often refuse to issue Christians with a 'non-objection certificate', which is essential for things such as jobs and registering property.
Converts from Buddhism are particularly vulnerable to persecution in Bhutan
"I found life and hope in Jesus. All the time I have in this world I want to use it for His kingdom."Meena is a young Christian who faces pressure from her local community because of her faith in Jesus
In general, persecution in Bhutan did not change very much. Despite the claim before the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019 that religious organisations do not need to be registered in order to practice, Christians have still not been officially recognised in the country. Christian groups are able to meet, but have to do so without raising any attention. Converts continue to be frequently ostracized by family and society.
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen persecuted Christians in Bhutan through prayer support and other practical emergency help.
How can you pray for Bhutan?
- Please pray that those who have suffered loss of family, work or inheritance for their faith will have all their needs met
- Pray that Christians will have fresh revelations of Jesus that will help sustain them in the face of pressure and persecution
- That the Holy Spirit will refresh and revitalize believers who are feeling particularly discouraged, bereft or weary.
Dear God, pour fresh encouragement into the hearts of believers in Bhutan who are feeling discouraged because of the risks that come with following You. Give them discernment, wisdom and boldness as they seek to express and share their faith in environments that can be hostile to them. Provide opportunities for believers to gather, and meet the needs all those who have suffered loss because of their faith, be that jobs, friends or other things. Establish connections between Christians and those in authority, so that their influence not only leads to greater religious freedom but opens avenues for more people to hear about You. Amen.