Myanmar: Peace talks for settling conflict with majority-Christian ethnic groups

Myanmar: Peace talks for settling conflict with majority-Christian ethnic groups
Myanmar’s Peace Commission has held a meeting in China with the representatives of three ethnic armed groups fighting the Myanmar Armed Forces along the country’s northern border, AsiaNews reports. The  Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Arakan Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army are part of the Northern Alliance, which also . . . Read More

EU should ‘put people of the world’ first in quest for religious freedom – report

EU should ‘put people of the world’ first in quest for religious freedom – report
Members of the European Parliament (EP) have called on the EU to “put the people of the world before our financial and political interests”, in a report about religious freedom. The Annual Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017, presented by the EP Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or . . . Read More

China ‘uses legal tactics to suppress religious freedom’, says rights agency

People leaving the church after a service in Shenyang, north-eastern Dongguang province. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
China’s churches are experiencing the worst persecution in 40 years, with a government which uses “non-religious reasons” and civil law to close houses of worship, according to the US-based St Charles Institute. Pressure is applied “through opaque queries of fire-protection measures, by questioning the legality of printed materials used by the . . . 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

Thailand called to release detained Vietnamese Montagnard refugees

The Montagnard-people are persecuted because of their faith but getting asylum in neighbouring countries is difficult. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Thailand should release the group of ethnic minority refugees and asylum seekers, mostly Christians, arrested last week during a crackdown just outside the capital Bangkok, rights groups say. Most of the 181 refugees detained are Montagnards, an indigenous group from Vietnam who face “harsh persecution if they are returned to . . . Read More

China has transformed Xinjiang into a ‘mass detention camp’ – UN

China's government has had an "anti terror" campaign in majority-Muslim Xinjiang region - meaning increased surveillance, arrests and detention. (Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
The United Nations has raised alarm over the tens of thousands of Uyghur Muslims being held in detention centres in Xinjiang, northwest China. In a report last Thursday, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said the Chinese government had “transformed the autonomous region of the Uyghurs into . . . Read More

‘Disappeared’ lawyer receives award for dedication to China’s religious freedom

‘Disappeared’ lawyer receives award for dedication to China’s religious freedom
A Chinese human rights lawyer who fell foul of the authorities for his support of oppressed communities, including Christians, was awarded the Shahbaz Bhatti Freedom Award on 29 August, the Epoch Times reports. The whereabouts of the lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, have not been publicly known since August 2017, so the . . . Read More

Amnesty launches writing campaign for release of four Iranian Christians

From left: Victor Bet-Tamraz, Amin Afshar-Naderi, another fellow prisoner Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi, and Hadi Asgari.
Amnesty International has called for the release of four Iranians sentenced to a combined total of 45 years in prison “solely for practising their Christian faith”. Its report calls for urgent action from the Iranian government to “quash the convictions and sentences of Victor Bet-Tamraz, Shamiram Isavi, Amin Afshar-Naderi, and . . . 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

China’s head of religious affairs warns of ‘domination’ by ‘foreign forces’

People leaving the church after a service in Shenyang, north-eastern Dongguang province. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
China’s head of religious affairs has warned that the country’s religious groups must not be “dominated” by “foreign forces”, reports Reuters. “There is no affiliate relationship between our country’s religions and foreign religions. Our country’s religious groups and religious matters do not accept domination by foreign forces,” the religious affairs . . . Read More