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Nepal moves closer to new Constitution, but still no religious liberty

2012-05-03 Vatican Radio

The Prime Minister of Nepal today announced plans to dissolve his Cabinet and form a new coalition government that includes members of the main opposition parties. The two main opposition parties confirmed that they would join his new government.

The agreement, once reached, is expected to help pave the way for a new constitution. Nepal’s Supreme Court has told the Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 it must complete the task of writing the constitution by May 27th. The new constitution was a key part of the peace process that began in 2006 after the Maoist rebels gave up their armed revolt and joined mainstream politics.

“I am keeping a very positive hope that something will come out by the deadline,” said Father Silas Bogati, the former director of Caritas Nepal. He told Vatican Radio he hopes a new constitution will bring stability to the country.

However, he is concerned because the document does not protect religious freedom.

“Even as the new constitution comes, freedom of religion will not be there,” he lamented. “There will be a clause which will bar and criminalize evangelization. We are very much worried about this.”

Listen to the full interview by Davide Maggiore with Father Silas Bogati: