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

Malaysia church attacks highlight growth of Islamic extremism

Malaysia church attacks highlight growth of Islamic extremism
Located within easy reach of three active centres of Islamic extremism – Mindanao in the Philippines, Arakan in Myanmar and the southern provinces of Thailand – Malaysia has become a breeding ground for IS recruitment, weapon smuggling and communication, according to the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. . . . 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

Escaping North Korea

Escaping North Korea
A vast network of brokers help North Koreans escape Kim Jong-un’s regime through a well-oiled system. Some of their remarkable stories were revealed to The Washington Post during its recent visit to a Thai detention centre. The 11 interviewed were recovering from the last leg of their journey, which started . . . Read More

Vietnamese pastor punished for ‘reports’ to US diplomats; Catholic blogger to be expelled to France

Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh was released early in a deal that saw him leave the country. (Photo: USCIRF)
A pastor imprisoned in south-east Vietnam is being further punished for telling a visiting U.S. diplomatic delegation about abuses he has suffered. Nguyen Cong Chinh, serving an 11-year sentence for “undermining national solidarity” by religious activities with ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, met US consular officials in Ho Chi . . . Read More

UNHCR accused of ‘negligence’ after Pakistani Christian dies in Thai detention centre

UNHCR accused of ‘negligence’ after Pakistani Christian dies in Thai detention centre
Thailand’s government and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Bangkok have been accused of “negligence” after a Pakistani Christian asylum seeker died in a detention centre last month. Ijaz Masih, 35, was reportedly refused medical treatment on 26 May, after complaining of chest pains, and died of a heart attack . . . Read More

No solution for Vietnam’s persecuted Montagnard-people

The Montagnard-people are persecuted because of their faith but getting asylum in neighbouring countries is difficult. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The number of Montagnard-people fleeing their native Vietnam, because of persecution of their Christian faith, is growing, reports Al Jazeera. They initially end up in surrounding nations like Cambodia and Thailand, where they face a stateless future as their refugee status is not recognized. Thailand and Cambodia are not signatories . . . Read More

Pakistani Christians in Thailand face renewed pressure to return home

Pakistani Christians in Thailand face renewed pressure to return home
World Watch Monitor has heard from reliable sources that the Thai government is planning to cancel bail for all male asylum seekers in Bangkok. The move would require them to return to detention centres straight away. This would include many of the estimated 11,500 Pakistani Christians who complained in 2016 . . . Read More

Thai Buddhist calls for action against nationalism

A Thai Buddhist has called for Buddhist-majority countries like Thailand to halt the rise of nationalism, intolerance and hate speech. “It’s very dangerous, much more dangerous than weapons,” said Sulak Sivaraksa during a recent panel discussion on the Channel NewsAsia programme Between The Lines. As World Watch Monitor reported in . . . Read More