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

Sudan court rules in favour of church in governance dispute

Several churches are in conflict with the Sudanese government over ownership of their properties and are facing fines and destruction of church buildings. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A Sudanese court has surprisingly ruled against the government in a case against the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) after a long-standing dispute over ownership of the church’s property. Five church leaders, including the SCOC president Ayouba Telyan, appeared in court on Wednesday, 8 August, expecting to have to defend . . . Read More

Could Brunson’s release ease Turkey’s diplomatic standoff with the US?

Could Brunson’s release ease Turkey’s diplomatic standoff with the US?
After the slipping Turkish lira nosedived dramatically yesterday, losing a record 5 per cent of its value in one day, unnamed Turkish diplomatic sources confirmed to CNNTURK today that a government delegation from Ankara is heading to Washington within two days to discuss escalating tensions between Turkey and the United . . . Read More

‘Only jihadists want to see Christians leave the Middle East’

Around 300 Christians went to Bartella during the Easter weekend of 2017, to have the very first Easter celebration in three years in their home town. A convoy of about 15 buses travelled from Erbil, crossing several Kurdish and Iraqi army checkpoints to reach the church. The people still live in Erbil and cannot go back to Bartella to live or to rebuild. But for this day many take the chance to celebrate Easter in their own church again. (Open Doors International)
“The only people that want to see all Christians leave are some of the violent jihadists,” concludes a new book. “Everyone else, including some we might term as Islamists, desires their continued presence. They recognise that it is Christians who are the leaven that permeates the whole of society.” The . . . Read More

US commission calls for Iranian Christians’ release after ‘new miscarriage of justice’

From left: Saheb Fadaie, Youcef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of an Iranian pastor and three of his church members, after they were taken to prison last week to serve ten-year sentences for “acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity” and running “house . . . Read More

US to Turkey: Release pastor Brunson or ‘face the consequences’

US to Turkey: Release pastor Brunson or ‘face the consequences’
US Vice President Mike Pence has said that America will impose “significant sanctions” upon Turkey if it does not release American pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest and allow him to return to the United States. During remarks delivered on 26 July in Washington, DC, to the Ministerial to Advance . . . Read More

Home after 21 months, but US pastor Andrew Brunson now can’t leave house till October trial

Home after 21 months, but US pastor Andrew Brunson now can’t leave house till October trial
A crowd of Turkish Christians from Andrew Brunson’s Izmir Resurrection Church greeted their pastor with cries of “We love you, Andrew!” as he arrived home under police escort on Wednesday afternoon, 25 July. After nearly 22 months in detention, Brunson was released at 5.30pm from Izmir’s Kiriklar maximum security prison . . . Read More

‘Lack of religious freedom anywhere is a threat everywhere,’ Sam Brownback tells religious freedom summit

Christian leaders in Iran have said that pressure on Christians increases every year around Christmas but that this year it is particularly severe. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, urged government and faith leaders, and civil society, to work together to enhance global religious freedom, at the opening of the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington DC yesterday (24 July). In his opening words, Brownback, who was appointed in . . . Read More

US pastor Andrew Brunson to be moved from prison to house arrest, but can’t leave Turkey

A photo of the Rev. Andrew Brunson during his time in prison.  Photo courtesy of World Witness
The US pastor Andrew Brunson is being moved from Kiriklar prison to house arrest in Turkey after a court ruling today, 25 July, a leader of the Turkish Protestant Church has confirmed direct to World Watch Monitor. The same source confirmed that Brunson’s wife is on her way to the . . . Read More