Mexico 'In Denial' Over Thousands Of Evangelicals Forced Out Of Homes

Mexico has been accused of a "policy of denial" over the thousands of evangelicals forced out of homes for their beliefs.

According to the Mexican Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights, more than 287,000 cases of forced internal displacement took place in the last five years. But the UN-accredited National Human Rights Commission puts the figure at around 35,000.

At least 30 families from the Tuxpan de Bolaños area of Mexico were forced to leave in January 2016 because their evangelical faith was seen as a threat, according to World Watch MonitorOpen Doors International

However, Pedro Faro Navarro, director of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, disputes both numbers and accused the government of "making up the figures", according to World Watch Monitor. And he says the government is in denial about the number of people forced to move because they left the traditional Catholic Church for branches of evangelical Protestantism.

"There are some who speak of more than a million people," he said. "For the time being, what we know for definite is that the lowest number is always the official one." Many families have to leave their homes and nobody comes to count them, he added.

The problems between evangelical Christians and traditional communities are not uniform, said Faro. Some involve religious differences but others also involve political power struggles.

" Each case is different and has to be well analysed," he said, according to the persecution watchdog.

Faro said the government is ignoring the situation because to admit a problem would mean having to confront it. He said the Mexican government would not intervene because it was trying to encourage foreign investment in territories "where there are indigenous villages that are practically for sale".

At present there is no national law in relation to forced internal displacement and the problem is set to escalate as the perpetrators go unpunished. "The states in the north are most problematic, but no part of the country is free of this crisis," he said.

Faro has reported the situation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an institution that promotes human rights across the Americas.