Sudan: ‘Put brakes on’ normalising relations, rights groups tell US

A Sudan People's Liberation Movement rebel soldier in South Kordofan state where thousands of people fled the Nuba Mountains in 2012 to escape fighting between the rebel group and the government's armed forces. (Photo: ADRIANE OHANESIAN/AFP/GettyImages)
Rights groups have urged the United States to refrain from removing Sudan from its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. “New circumstances have emerged in Sudan that make US efforts at full normalisation dramatically ill-timed,” said the Washington DC-based Enough Project in a recent report. The NGO, which focuses on . . . Read More

Myanmar: 7,000 Kachin displaced as violence escalates

Displaced Kachin residents cross the Malikha river on 26 April to escape the fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar government troops. (Photo: ZAU RING HPARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Almost 7,000 people belonging to the largely Christian minority group in Kachin, northern Myanmar, have fled their houses since fighting between the army and a rebel group flared up in early April, according to recent figures from the Red Cross. “It’s a war where civilians are being systematically targeted by . . . Read More

Landmark judgment on Pakistani religious minorities yet to be honoured by the state

Landmark judgment on Pakistani religious minorities yet to be honoured by the state
When a bomber killed 127 people at a Pakistan church, the country’s Supreme Court issued a list of instructions to the government to protect religious minorities. Four years later, the government has yet to follow most of them. As with the religious freedom guaranteed in Pakistan’s constitution, the government’s lacklustre . . . Read More

Nepal: Catholic church interior ‘entirely destroyed’ after arson

Christians in Hindu-majority Nepal made feel "unwelcome" by "acts that provoke a culture of hate and fear", says a human rights activist. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A Catholic church in Nepal’s western Banke District has been left badly damaged following an arson attack last week, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). A group of between eight and ten unidentified arsonists reportedly warned locals to stay inside their houses, before breaking into St. Joseph’s, in the town . . . 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

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

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

Nepal ‘should practise what it preaches’ as UN member

Nepal ‘should practise what it preaches’ as UN member
As a newly elected member state of the UN Human Rights Council, Nepal must address its own commitment to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and belief, says Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The advocacy organisation highlighted Nepal’s decision in October to criminalise religious conversion and the “hurting of . . . Read More