A Christian man has been ordered to leave his community in Mexico.
Lauro Pérez Núñez was ordered to leave the village of La Chachalaca, in the district of Santiago Camotlán, Oaxaca, because local authorities were angered that he’d left the ‘traditionalist’ church — a blend of indigenous paganism and popular Catholicism, for evangelical Protestant Christian beliefs.
“In the beginning there were about 16 families in the village that practised [Evangelical Christianity],” said Núñez, 36. “But the accusations that we were against the beliefs of the majority, that we were attempting to go against the community, made many stop expressing their ideas.”
Núñez has refused to change his beliefs, however, and has suffered for it. He has been arrested and imprisoned at least 5 times and his children have been refused schooling.
Forced to flee his village, he filed an appeal and, after three months, the district judge issued an official order that he could return home. But when he did, nothing had changed.
“As soon as they saw me, they told me I had an hour to leave,” he said. “I showed them the judge’s decision, but that made things worse. I started to receive death threats and I was told that I only had 15 minutes to leave.”
A group of around 30 people amassed at his mother’s house, where he was staying. They cut the electricity and started banging on the walls. One of his relatives was beaten and he was arrested again.
“I was told that if I did not drop the appeal to the district judge, they would take my mother’s house away.”
Mexico is number 40 on the Open Doors World Watch List. Mexico ended 2015 with nearly 10,000 claims of alleged human-rights violations, an increase of 18 per cent from the previous year. Religious intolerance in Mexico, mostly against the Protestant minority, is increasing. Several families, like Núñez’s, have faced eviction from their indigenous communities and experienced harassment, arrest and imprisonment from local authorities.
“This situation has been really hard, but especially hard for my children,” Núñez said. “Today they are going to school in another community located miles away from my community.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.