Asia Bibi central to trade deals, EU tells Pakistan

Asia Bibi central to trade deals, EU tells Pakistan
The EU’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Jan Figeľ, told Pakistani officials during a recent visit that the renewal of their export privileges to Europe depends on the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010. “The EU countries have started . . . Read More

Pakistan student kills school principal in blasphemy row

Banner protesting against changes to the blasphemy laws, Peshawar 2017 (World Watch Monitor)
A Pakistani student has shot and killed his school principal after they argued over the student missing classes to attend protests over “blasphemous” law changes, reports The Guardian. Police said the unnamed student had attended a sit-in staged by a new ultra-religious party, Tehreek-e-Labaik, to oppose a small change in . . . Read More

Freedom of thought ‘regressing on a global scale’

There are many Pakistani Christian women like Aasiya Noreen who live in fear of the Blasphemy law in their country and the (potential of) abuse. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, presented yesterday (5 December), should be alarming “to all who care about freedom of thought and expression”, as it shows “a pattern of regression on a global scale”, says its editor, Bob Churchill. The report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) . . . Read More

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Anti-blasphemy protests in Pakistan have once again highlighted the fragile position of the country’s religious minorities. Life in various parts of Pakistan virtually came to a halt on Saturday (25 November) after the police, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies clashed with rioters in the capital, Islamabad, resulting in protests . . . Read More

UN calls for abolition of death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy

During protests against Jakarta's Christian former governor Ahok for alleged blasphemy, some protestors called for the death penalty.  Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Indonesia and carries a penalty of up to five years in jail. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN Human Rights Council last week passed a new resolution, demanding the abolition of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy. The resolution called on UN member states that still have the death penalty to, among other things, “ensure that it is not imposed as a sanction for specific . . . Read More