Amnesty: ‘Discrimination rife in all regions of the world … with deadly consequences’

Buddhist flags are waved during a mass demonstration against Christianity in Sri Lanka, April 2017. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A review of the human-rights situation in 159 countries during 2017, published by Amnesty International yesterday (22 February), shows that religious persecution continues in the form of threats, attacks, extrajudicial killings and even genocide, while harsh sentences continue to be handed out – sometimes even death sentences – for changing . . . Read More

Turkish state blocks election of a new Armenian Patriarch

Turkish state blocks election of a new Armenian Patriarch
ahFor the sixth time since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the government of constitutionally “secular” Turkey has openly intervened in the selection of a new Armenian Patriarch to lead the nation’s largest Christian community. Now estimated at less than 40,000, Turkey’s Armenian community – located primarily in . . . Read More

Indonesia church attacker acted alone, police say

Altar of the Stasi Kinali Catholic Church, West-Sumatra, Indonesia, which was attacked in May 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The man accused of injuring four people in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday morning (11 February) acted alone and obtained the weapon – a one-metre-long sword – in exchange for his mobile phone, police say. The suspect, a 23-year-old student identified as Suliyono from Bayuwangi in East . . . Read More

Bomb scare intimidates another church in Turkey

Trabzon church in a 2007 photo (World Watch Monitor)
Turkish police were called to Trabzon’s Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday morning (4 February) to examine a smouldering device spotted in the garden by alarmed church staff. After discovering a partially burned homemade pipe bomb, which had failed to explode, local authorities promptly checked the church’s security camera footage. . . . Read More

A Middle Eastern Christian’s view of Pence’s agenda

A Middle Eastern Christian’s view of Pence’s agenda
A Jordanian Christian trauma counsellor has urged US Vice President Mike Pence to recognise Palestinian statehood to make good his pledge to help Christians in the Middle East. Issam Smeir, who has worked with refugees in the Middle East and in the US, wrote a first-person piece for the Washington . . . Read More

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?
The US State Department last week placed Pakistan on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations of religious freedom”. The US did not, however, go as far as adding it to its ten ‘Countries of Particular Concern’* – for countries where “governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and . . . Read More

Egypt’s human rights move dismissed as ploy to win back US aid

Egypt’s human rights move dismissed as ploy to win back US aid
Efforts by the Egyptian government to improve its record on human rights are aimed primarily at persuading the US government to reinstate its generous aid package, Coptic activists have said. Last month Egypt announced it would set up 60 human-rights departments across the country to record complaints from citizens of . . . Read More

­Maldives activist investigated for ‘blasphemy’ over ‘religions other than Islam’ tweet

Shahindha Ismail (Photo: Twitter)
An activist in the Maldives has received death threats and is being investigated for “blasphemy” after posting a tweet in response to President Abdulla Yameen’s comment that his government would not allow any other religion in the country than Islam. Shahindha Ismail, executive director of the Maldives Democracy Network, tweeted: . . . Read More

Iranian Christians safe if ‘practise faith discreetly’ – European Court of Human Rights

Activists in the Swiss capital of Bern raise awareness of religious persecution of Christians around the world (2014). (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The European Court of Human Rights ruled last month that an Iranian who sought asylum in Switzerland based on religious grounds could be deported to his home country because his life was not in danger, despite various reports detailing how Iran persecutes religious minorities and converts to Christianity. Human Rights . . . Read More