US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws
Russia’s anti-extremism laws are being used to crack down on peaceful religious minorities such as Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hare Krishnas, the top US religious-freedom watchdog says. A report commissioned by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that “vague and problematic definitions of ‘extremism’ in Russian law . . . Read More

Kazakhstan: Hundreds punished for practising faith in 2017

Kazakhstan: Hundreds punished for practising faith in 2017
Kazakhstan prosecuted 279 individuals, groups and organisations last year for conducting activities related to religion, according to news agency Forum 18. The ‘offences’ included attending worship meetings, importing religious literature, telling other people about a faith, praying, allowing a parent to bring a child to a religious meeting, and inadequate . . . Read More

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration
Six Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan have submitted a letter to President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, asking to be allowed to register as official religious communities. Following the adoption of a new Law on Religious Organisations and Religious Freedom in March 2016, all religious entities are required to re-register in order to operate . . . Read More

Kazakhstan’s new restrictions to ‘flagrantly’ violate religious rights

At the facility of one of the presbyterian Churches in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is set to pass a new set of restrictions on freedom of religion or belief that violate international human rights obligations, according to regional news service Forum 18. The proposed amendments to Kazakhstan’s religion law are currently with the Prime Minister and are expected to be signed into law . . . Read More

Vietnam’s religion policy and practice – contradictions continue

St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi
Optimists are hard to find ahead of Vietnam’s impending introduction of its new Law on Belief and Religion, scheduled to come into effect on 1 January, 2018. Vietnam’s Catholic and Evangelical leaders, as well as Buddhists and Caodaists, say the main benefit of the law, two years in the making, . . . Read More