Christian group opposes religious conversion bill
A bill on religious conversion approved by the Amyotha Hluttaw last week would be a major setback to human rights in Myanmar if passed into law, Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide said in a statement on January 23.
The bill, approved by the upper house on January 19, would require those seeking to change their religion to request permission from 11-member panels comprising officials responsible for religious affairs, immigration, women's affairs and education.
It is one of four so-called “protection of religion” laws due to be considered by parliament.
“The proposed law on religious conversion would be a major setback for religious freedom and human rights in Burma,” the chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Mr Mervyn Thomas, said in the statement.
UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee highlighted the “significant human rights concerns” over the proposed laws on religious conversions and interfaith marriage in a statement released during her visit to the country earlier this month.
In a statement on January 22, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said the legislation was “irreparably flawed” and risked fuelling violence and discrimination against religious minorities.
The commission's chairman, Mr Robert George, said last June that the religious conversion law “had no place in the 21st century”. [Mizzima]