Authorities in the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan have reportedly added two new restrictions for any religious communities seeking legal status. According to Forum 18, many communities—including Christian churches and groups—are afraid to seek legal status because those who have sought it have been punished in some way.
The new restrictions require any religious community seeking legal status to provide a notarized copy of Uzbekistan’s official recognition of any official foreign or Uzbek religious education that has been completed by the head of a religious community. Also required is a notarized copy of the state’s official recognition of any foreign or Uzbek religious education that has been completed by the head of any religious educational institution run by the religious community. At the present time, there is no indication of what type of education is covered by the second new requirement. Nor is there any formal official agency to recognize foreign religious education, which makes fulfilling the requirement impossible. Forum 18 reports that these requirements violate Uzbekistan’s binding international human rights obligations.
Please continue to intercede in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Uzbekistan and throughout Central Asia who face varying degrees of oppression. We trust that the Lord will continue building His church no matter what the hand of man will attempt to stop it.
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