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Recognition of religion or belief in Laos
According to the standards set out in the SRR, conditions for RoRB in the Lao People's Democratic Republic are classified censorious.
The government extends existential recognition of the belief systems of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith; it gives special attention and state privilege to Buddhism in its legislation; despite this privilege, Buddhists, both clergy and lay, are restricted in their activities.
Religious organisations can affiliate with one of the four recognised belief systems, but this is not obligatory.
The presentation of registration information to the four different levels of authority, namely national, provincial, district and village-level offices of the MOHA is unnecessary; similarly the requirement for all religious activity to be approved by the different office levels is highly censorial.
The rule of mandatory registration is a violation of the Bielefeldt provision.
The state’s requirements surrounding the construction of places of worship are highly censorial and the government involvement in the process of construction and maintenance violates the autonomy of religious groups.
Dismantlement of the present system that abuses recognition and registration to censor the religious aspects of the lives of citizens and the internal affairs of religious organisations.
The current provisions for existential recognition are appreciated but should not be misused to exclude non-recognised religions; existential recognition should be extended to all belief systems.
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