China: Cultivate ‘patriotic’ clergy, Henan officials told

China: Cultivate ‘patriotic’ clergy, Henan officials told
Local government officials in China’s central Henan province are being encouraged to cultivate “patriotic” clergy for leadership positions in the Catholic Church, according to a document outlining how to implement the new religion regulations. The guidelines, published in a confidential document titled ‘Supervision and Self-Inspection Framework for Implementing the Central . . . Read More

Eritreans still suffering despite peace deal with Ethiopia, says priest

Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Cathedral in Asmara, Eritrea. (Photo: David Stanley)
An Eritrean priest has called on the international community not to close their eyes to the reality of what is happening in his country, reports the Catholic news site Agenzia Fides. While bilateral relations with countries in the region are improving, the harassment of religious groups at home continues, Fr. Mussie . . . Read More

‘If the UN does not stand for Asia Bibi, what does it stand for?’

Asia Bibi is finally free, almost one decade after she was first imprisoned. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
An opinion piece published in the Washington Examiner has criticised the United Nations for failing to speak out against Pakistan’s treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy against Islam since 2010. The article, written by New Jersey-based William Mahoney, contrasts the UN’s response to France’s . . . Read More

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