Report: UN weakness on religious freedom undercuts its authority on human rights

Dressed in the saffron colour, groups such these are promoting the nationalist cause for India to be a Hindu-nation. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN cannot strengthen, promote and protect human rights if it does not prioritise religious freedom, a report published by the Washington-based human rights alliance, ADF International has argued. The 73-page report, titled “Anti-Conversion Laws and the International Response”, claims that “some UN entities, especially special rapporteurs, have highlighted the . . . Read More

Religious freedom is a prerequisite for democracy – US commission

China's 'sinicization of religion' shows how economic liberalisation has not lead to more political freedom, says USCIRF chair. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A wealth of research shows that a society’s level of religious freedom is linked to its levels of critical social indicators, such as prosperity, stability and peace, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom told British parliamentarians. Dr. Daniel Mark, chairman of USCIRF, an independent, bipartisan federal . . . Read More

USCIRF wants 6 more countries on US Govt’s religious-freedom watch list

USCIRF wants 6 more countries on US Govt’s religious-freedom watch list
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wants six more countries to be added to the US State Department’s religious-freedom watch list. The Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam should become ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ (CPCs) – a designation the US government uses to describe countries . . . Read More

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

US State Department adds Pakistan to religious-freedom watch list

Burial of victims of a suicide attack on the Methodist Bethel Church in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday 17 December in which at least 9 people were killed. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The US State Department has placed Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for severe violators of religious freedom, it announced yesterday (4 January) with the publication of its annual list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’. The announcement comes as the US government cuts security aid to Pakistan, saying the country . . . Read More

Will end of sanctions against Sudan ease Bible shortage for 1 million Christians?

Will end of sanctions against Sudan ease Bible shortage for 1 million Christians?
Measures by the Sudanese government to prevent Bibles from entering the country are leaving the churches there with a serious shortage of Scripture and teaching materials. One senior church leader, who has overseen the import of hundreds of thousands of Bibles and other pieces of Christian literature to Sudan, told . . . Read More

Uzbekistan should ‘protect religious freedom, not see religion as a threat’ – UN Special Rapporteur

Uzbekistan should ‘protect religious freedom, not see religion as a threat’ – UN Special Rapporteur
Uzbekistan should invest more time in protecting religious freedom in its ongoing reforms rather than see religion as a threat, a UN expert has concluded after an official visit to the country. “Resilience against religious extremism can be built on strengthening diversity as well as freedom of religion or belief,” . . . Read More

Andrew Brunson, still in prison after one year, thanks people for praying for him

Andrew Brunson in a photo provided by his family.
American pastor Andrew Brunson has served one year as a prisoner in Turkey. Charges against him are unclear and recently Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed publicly that Brunson is being held as a political hostage. Brunson is one of an estimated 50,000 “suspected” public servants, academics, journalists and rights . . . Read More