Nepal’s criminalisation of conversion a ‘direct infringement’ of religious freedom

Nepal’s criminalisation of conversion a ‘direct infringement’ of religious freedom
The clause in Nepal’s constitution that prohibits religious conversions was added to “protect Hinduism at the expense of other religions”, says advocacy group CSW, on the third anniversary of the amended constitution. As World Watch Monitor reported, Nepal’s Christian minority feared that the so-called “anti-conversion” measure, which came into force . . . Read More

Vietnam uses ‘national security’ to detain rights activists, UN told

Vietnam uses ‘national security’ to detain rights activists, UN told
Vietnam has been accused of “misinforming” the international community about the human rights issues in the country. The president of the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Vo Van Ai, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, condemned the alleged “brutal crackdown on freedom of expression, association, peaceful . . . Read More

Life in 70-years-old North Korea ‘is like living in Orwell’s 1984’, says escapee

North Korea is preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary while the majority of its population faces multiple challenges every day, including food shortages and human rights violations. (Photo: ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
As North Korea prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary this weekend with a military parade and “Mass Games”, its population lives in perpetual war (the 1953 Korean War has never officially ended), under government surveillance and with a propaganda machine controlled by the national leader’s personality cult. The reality is . . . Read More

Having human rights in Kazakhstan depends on state permission – report

The Presidential Palace, the official work place of Kazakhstan's president, in the capital Astana. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Kazakhstan tries to make the “exercising of human rights conditional on state permission”, says the Oslo-based news service Forum 18. “[Kazakhstan] systematically violates intertwined fundamental rights – such as the freedoms of religion or belief, of expression and of assembly” when it has international obligations to respect and defend these, . . . Read More

Religious freedom violations in Asia increasing – UN rapporteur

Pakistani Christians experience an increase in violence such as a suicide attack on the Bethel Methodist Church in Quetta in December last year that killed more than ten and injured dozens of people. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Religious freedom in Asia is “eroding”, with an increase in religious fundamentalism across much of the continent, according to the UN’s religious freedom rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed. Shaheed spoke during an event, hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, on the back of the 4th Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference. “Freedom . . . Read More

US imposes sanctions on Myanmar for ‘widespread human rights abuses’

Since fighting flared up in Kachin state in April thousands of people have fled their homes and, like these women, found refuge in temporary shelters at church compounds in Kachin's capital Myitkyina.(Photo: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images)
The US government announced on Friday that it had imposed sanctions on Myanmar for “widespread human rights abuses” against Christians, Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities, reports The New York Times. According to the Treasury Department the abuses against Rohingya Muslims in southwestern Rakhine state, forcing more than 700,000 to seek . . . Read More

‘How can reading the Bible be acting against national security?’ asks Iranian Christian from prison

‘How can reading the Bible be acting against national security?’ asks Iranian Christian from prison
An Iranian convert to Christianity serving ten years in prison for “missionary activities” has written an open letter to the Iranian authorities, asking how his Christian activities could be perceived as anti-state. “Would it even be possible for a committed Christian – who was born and raised in Iran and . . . Read More

US commission calls for Iranian Christians’ release after ‘new miscarriage of justice’

From left: Saheb Fadaie, Youcef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of an Iranian pastor and three of his church members, after they were taken to prison last week to serve ten-year sentences for “acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity” and running “house . . . Read More

‘When religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened’ – US ambassador

‘When religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened’ – US ambassador
There is a strong link between religious freedom and the facilitation of women’s rights, according to the US Ambassador to the Vatican, Callista Gingrich. In an article for Fox News, Gingrich argues that “when religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened and societies flourish”. “Female victims of religious discrimination . . . Read More