Laos: Law on associations ‘skewed to target religious minorities’

Buddhists meeting in their temple in Laos are often exempt from meeting requirements under the Decree of Association. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A law that came into effect in Laos last November “has already been skewed to target religious minorities, especially in rural areas”, according to Mission Network News (MNN). The Decree on Associations requires all groups, whether religious or otherwise, to acquire government approval for holding meetings and other activities. It . . . Read More

Persecuted Christians celebrate Easter with mixed emotions

Flag of Syria is waving as sign of victory over the destroyed heavily damaged city of Aleppo. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Easter this year was a time of mixed emotions for the Christians who live under pressure for their faith. While political and religious leaders called for peace, reconciliation and brotherhood, Christians in countries like Syria and the Philippines continued to face violence and its consequences. Below, World Watch Monitor gives . . . Read More

Laos government agrees to religious freedom education

Vat That Khao, the Reclining Buddha, in Vientiane. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The government in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos has agreed to sponsor religious-freedom education in the country. The US-based Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) will roll out a series of seminars focusing on “religious freedom as a human right, Lao government policy on religious activity and encouraging dialogue between . . . Read More

‘Unprecedented’ persecution of Egypt’s Christians heads 2018 World Watch List

‘Unprecedented’ persecution of Egypt’s Christians heads 2018 World Watch List
More Christians abused in India than in all other countries combined; Nepal enters list Islamic extremists driven out of Iraq and Syria are behind a new intensity of Christian persecution in surrounding countries, says global charity Open Doors in its latest annual survey of countries where it is most difficult . . . Read More

Vietnam: Catholic blogger loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘anti-state reports’

Vietnam: Catholic blogger loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘anti-state reports’
A Vietnamese Catholic blogger has failed in her attempt to overturn a 10-year prison sentence for writing “anti-state reports”. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 38, better known as ‘Me Nam’ (Mother Mushroom), is a member of the US-based activist group Viet Tan, which funded one of her environmental campaigns. Her blogging . . . Read More

ASEAN nations told to ‘end blasphemy laws that inspire violence’

A right for all - USCIRF report on ASEAN nations
On its 50th anniversary, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should repeal blasphemy laws, release prisoners of conscience and strengthen interfaith relationships, says the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In a new report, USCIRF highlights regional “arrests, detentions, and imprisonments based on religious belief, practice, or activities, . . . Read More

Mass arrest of Thailand’s Christian asylum seekers

Thailand’s internal political pressures on its Bangkok UNHCR office has resulted in the arrest of at least 50 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, a church leader there told World Watch Monitor. On March 7, the Chief of Pakistan’s Christian Congress wrote to the Thai Prime Minister, about arrests of those registered . . . Read More