Uzbekistan (SGA) — Some weeks ago, we had updated you about the ongoing legal fight in Uzbekistan between the government and the Uzbek Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (UECB) over their summer children’s campsite near Tashkent, the capital. Sadly, I must report to you that an Uzbek court has ordered formal seizure of the camp.
For reasons of security, evangelical church spokespeople have asked not to be identified by name out of concern for government reprisals. The UECB has legally owned this camp for 13 years, but since 2009, the authorities have exerted more and more pressure upon the churches. Forum 18 also documents difficulties faced by other religious groups including seizure of literature, computers, musical instruments, and levying of fines. Over the summer, a Baptist church in Karshi had a piano, pews, carpeting and other items seized by court bailiffs.
The Baptist Union has appealed to the Uzbek General Prosecutor’s office. The United Nations Human Rights Council has urged the government to bring its practices into compliance with international human rights obligations. Thus far, the government has rejected the recommendations, and typically reacts very negatively to any Western pressure.
Please be in prayer for our faithful Christian brothers and sisters in Uzbekistan as they walk through this trial. Having lived through communist oppression, persecution is not new to them and they carry the biblical admonition in their hearts … Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13). We will do our best to keep you posted.