EU Envoy’s threat of trade sanctions played crucial role in Asia Bibi’s freedom

EU Envoy on religious freedom, Jan Figel, meets with Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif ul Malook in Lahore, December 2017. (Photo: Jan Figel)
Freed Pakistani Christian Aasiya Noreen, known to the world now as Asia Bibi, has pleaded for the many others like her accused of blasphemy who, she says, are still “lying in jail for years – their decisions should also be done on merit. The world should listen to them. “The . . . Read More

Iraq: Five years after IS occupied Mosul, returnees live in fear

Iraq: Five years after IS occupied Mosul, returnees live in fear
The Islamic State’s three-year occupation of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and its surrounding villages ended nearly two years ago, yet the city and its diminished number of Christian residents remain vulnerable.   Last month the Iraqi government announced it would arm residents of 50 villages around Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, . . . Read More

‘In context of gender justice, women’s right to freedom of religion pretty much ignored’

Anurima Bhargava (USCIRF) and Helene Fisher (Open Doors) at UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief CSW side event, 14 March, 2019
She is a woman who can be identified only as “Z”, for her security. She is a Christian in India, a country that is overwhelmingly Hindu. And she is a lawyer defending women and youth from exploitation by landlords and employers, so she was pleased when she got the opportunity . . . Read More

Pastor Brunson case increased ‘hate speech’ against Turkey’s Protestants – report

Malatya’s Kurtulus (Salvation) Church posted this message on the broken glass after an attacker heaved a brick through the church’s display window on November 24, 2017: “’Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.’ – Jesus Christ.” (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Turkey’s high-profile criminal case against Protestant pastor Andrew Brunson has triggered a significant increase in public hate speech against the nation’s small Protestant community, creating what its church leaders last week called a ‘climate of insecurity’ for its congregations and individual members. According to the Turkish Association of Protestant Churches’ . . . Read More

Malaysia: Exactly 2 years since Raymond Koh’s abduction, his wife asks PM to intervene

Pastor Raymond Koh who was last seen in February 2017. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Two years since the disappearance of Malaysian pastor Raymond Koh in broad daylight, his family has asked the country’s Prime Minister to order a new investigation into his kidnapping. “It has already been two years and until now there’s no result [of the inquiry]. We are at our wits’ end. . . . Read More

Ethiopia: Ethnic Somali Christian police man forced to relocate after talking about his faith

A Christian police officer in Ethiopia's eastern Somali region was advised to return to Islam but refused, claiming a constitutional right to religious freedom. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
An Ethiopian police officer was arrested, dismissed and forced to move to another part of the country after he told colleagues about his Christian faith The 25-year-old man, who grew up in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region as a member of the nearly 100 percent Muslim Somali tribe, became a Christian . . . Read More

Vietnamese government urged to cease persecution of religious minorities ahead of UN review

Vietnamese human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, 48, was sentenced to 15 years in jail in April. (Photo: -/AFP/Getty Images)
Religious freedom advocates have called on the Vietnamese government to cease persecution of Christians and members of other religious minorities, including torture. Their calls come ahead of the UN Review of the country’s human rights records in Geneva today, 22 January. Non-governmental organisations said in their submission to the UN . . . Read More

UK parliamentary group calls out 27 countries for ‘significant’ religious freedom violations

A church in Bartella, a town near the Iraqi city of Mosul, after Islamic State militants left the area in October 2016. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A “Commentary on the Current State of Freedom of Religion or Belief” presented by a group of British parliamentarians today, 10 December, highlights 27 countries where people’s religious freedom has been denied and abused in the past year. The report, presented by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International . . . Read More

Raymond Koh’s wife ‘expects justice’ as inquiry into Malaysian pastor’s abduction ends

Raymond Koh’s wife ‘expects justice’ as inquiry into Malaysian pastor’s abduction ends
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has concluded its inquiry into the disappearance of church leader Raymond Koh, who was kidnapped in broad daylight by masked men on 13 February 2017. The final three witnesses appeared before the inquiry panel on Friday, 7 December, which is expected to present . . . Read More