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Pakistan: bereaved parents accept compensation but suspect walks free

Family of Sharoon Masih (World Watch Monitor)
The family of a Christian boy beaten to death on his second day in secondary school have accepted the offer of compensation from the family of the accused. The Islamic concept of paying diyat (blood money) to the victim’s family allowed the suspect to walk free. Sharoon Masih, 17, was . . . Read More

Algerian Christian’s fine for importing crucifix keyrings ‘ridiculous’, says lawyer

Algerian Christian’s fine for importing crucifix keyrings ‘ridiculous’, says lawyer
A court in Algeria has overturned a prison sentence, but upheld a fine, against a Christian man convicted for carrying a Bible and other Christian items. Idir Hamdad, 29, had been convicted in absentia on 28 September 2017 (though he only learned about this five months later) and given the . . . Read More

A Christian escapee from North Korea has his doubts about Kim’s peace overtures

South Koreans at the Seoul Railway Station on 9 May, 2018 watch on a screen reporting the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, to meet North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, right.
What North Korea’s leader seeks from the international community is appeasement and not peace, let alone the freedom of his own people, a North Korean escapee says. “True peace will have to come alongside freedom of faith, belief, expression, speech for North Korean people,” said the former citizen of North . . . Read More

Praying for a peacemaker: What do Iraq’s elections mean for the remaining Christians?

A boy recently returned to his home in the Nineveh plains, looks out over the remains of Karamles (WWM May 2017)
Iraqis go the polls on Saturday (12 May) for the first time since the military defeat of Islamic State, whose campaign of terror against non-Muslims pushed thousands of the country’s last Christians to flee their homeland. Only about 200,000 to 300,000 Christians are thought to remain in Iraq now, mostly . . . Read More

Report: UN weakness on religious freedom undercuts its authority on human rights

Dressed in the saffron colour, groups such these are promoting the nationalist cause for India to be a Hindu-nation. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN cannot strengthen, promote and protect human rights if it does not prioritise religious freedom, a report published by the Washington-based human rights alliance, ADF International has argued. The 73-page report, titled “Anti-Conversion Laws and the International Response”, claims that “some UN entities, especially special rapporteurs, have highlighted the . . . Read More

Court orders extra payment to Christian widows of 14 who died in India riots

Christian women who have been rendered widows in recent anti-Christian violence in Orissa sing their traditional song at a Christmas celebration in Bangalore on December 8 in Bangalore.

The Global Council of Indian Christians based in Bangalore brought two dozen Orissa riot widows to Bangalore from the refugee camps in Kandhamal for conducting medical checks on them and to draw attention to their plight. Though Orissa government has declared compensation of 200 000 rupees ($4000) for those killed, only two of the two dozen widows have got the compensation as police insist on documentary proof for the murders and even recovery of the body some of which have been thrown in rivers and
dumped in jungles.

Photo by Anto Akkara
Following a long-fought campaign, the High Court of Odisha state in eastern India has ensured the disbursal of extra compensation awarded two years ago to dependants of 14 Christians killed in the widespread anti-Christian violence that engulfed Kandhamal district in 2008. In addition, the court has forced the Odisha government . . . Read More

Kidnapping fears for missing Coptic newlywed

Kidnapping fears for missing Coptic newlywed
A Coptic Christian woman who had been married for two weeks went missing from her school last Wednesday, sparking fears that she may have been kidnapped. Her disappearance brings to eight the number of Coptic women in Egypt who have gone missing since April, according to research by World Watch . . . Read More

Religious freedom is a prerequisite for democracy – US commission

China's 'sinicization of religion' shows how economic liberalisation has not lead to more political freedom, says USCIRF chair. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A wealth of research shows that a society’s level of religious freedom is linked to its levels of critical social indicators, such as prosperity, stability and peace, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom told British parliamentarians. Dr. Daniel Mark, chairman of USCIRF, an independent, bipartisan federal . . . Read More

Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic

Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic
On the eve of jailed US pastor Andrew Brunson’s second court hearing in Turkey, growing international comment has focused on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s transparent “hostage diplomacy” tactic, one of several issues seriously souring his nation’s relations with the United States. The upcoming 7 May hearing near Turkey’s third-largest . . . Read More