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

‘ISIS won despite defeat as West was unwilling to confront it’

Iraqi Christians ask the international community for help as they are facing annihilation by Islamic State. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The Islamic State group may have been defeated on the battlefield, but the West has allowed its ideology to “percolate” and in that case it won, writes Seth J. Frantzman for the Jerusalem Post. “[ISIS] won in Iraq and Syria by destroying minority communities. It won because today the international . . . 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

Nepali law criminalising ‘hurting of religious feelings’ comes into force

Nepali law criminalising ‘hurting of religious feelings’ comes into force
A law criminalising religious conversions and the hurting of religious feelings comes into force in Nepal today, a year after the bill was passed. As World Watch Monitor reported last year, Nepal’s Christian minority fears the new law will be abused by those seeking to settle scores – as has . . . Read More

Pakistani Christian assembly member vows to protect rights of religious minorities

A Pakistani Christian recently elected onto his provincial assembly has vowed to “protect the rights of all religious minorities”, reports not-for-profit Christians in Pakistan. Anthony Naveed, who was elected to the Sindh Assembly in last month’s elections, told media he will “try my best to promote the rights of various . . . Read More

Modi speaks out against ‘menace’ of mob attacks for first time

Attacks on Christians in India by Hindu extremists are on the increase and often their church buildings are destroyed as well, like this one in central India.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has for the first time condemned violence against minorities, saying that everyone has a duty to fight the “menace” of mob lynchings. But his critics say that, after four years in power at the head of a Hindu nationalist government, the comments have come too . . . Read More

Non-state actors behind most religious freedom violations in Indonesia – report

Young people join protests against the former Christian Jakarta governor Ahok who was convicted of blasphemy in May last year. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The number of religious freedom violations in Indonesia grew again in 2017 and for the first time non-state actors were the worst offenders, reports the Jakarta Globe. Last year 213 incidents were reported, 4% more than the year before, according to the annual report of the human rights group Wahid . . . Read More