Four protestant Christians were forcibly displaced on Sunday 28 July by leaders in the village of Cuamontax Huazalingo in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico.
Community leaders told the victims that the expulsion was the consequence of their failure to sign an agreement that bans Protestants from entering the village. Also because of a press conference held by their lawyer last week in which he accused the government of failing to act despite clear violations of freedom of religion or belief.
Community leaders attacked the homes of Gilberto Badillo, his adult son Uriel Badillo and their wives on 28 July while they were out. All their belongings were removed, and the doors and windows of the houses were broken to make them inhabitable. The family, who belong to the Baptist Missionary denomination, a registered religious association in Mexico, has sought refuge in a nearby city.
Despite ample warning that community leaders’ threats to forcibly displace the family were likely to be carried out, the government took no action to resolve the situation. Instead, state and regional religious affairs officials gave numerous interviews in which they blamed the Protestants for resisting being forced to participate in and contribute financially to Roman Catholic activities.
The forced displacement follows months of threats against the family. From November 2018 to April 2019 community leaders cut the electricity, running water and sewage services to the Protestants. In February they arbitrarily detained Gilberto Badillo and another Protestant villager, Gabriel Lara in an attempt to pressure them to sign an agreement that would compel them to participate in and contribute financially to all village activities. The activities included those of a religious nature, and explicitly prohibits the entry of Protestants to the village. Mr Lara signed the agreement, reportedly under duress, but Mr Badillo has refused to do so.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
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