Christian women at double risk of persecution – because of gender as well as religion

Chibok girls. Two of them were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
For the first time ever, the persecution of women as it differs to that of men has been examined by the analysts of the 2018 World Watch List. The list, compiled by Open Doors International, researches over 50 countries where it is most difficult for Christians to live. The resulting Gender . . . Read More

Uzbekistan President vows to reform ‘mad dog’ secret police

Uzbekistan President vows to reform ‘mad dog’ secret police
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has said he will reform the country’s secret police, reports Radio Free Europe (RFERL). Calling members of the security services “mad dogs”, Mirziyoev has accused the SNB (a successor to the Soviet-era KGB) of committing atrocities, targeting innocent people and “exceeding its authority”. The SNB developed . . . 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 2017 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

Kazakhstan’s new restrictions to ‘flagrantly’ violate religious rights

At the facility of one of the presbyterian Churches in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is set to pass a new set of restrictions on freedom of religion or belief that violate international human rights obligations, according to regional news service Forum 18. The proposed amendments to Kazakhstan’s religion law are currently with the Prime Minister and are expected to be signed into law . . . Read More

UN Special Rapporteur: ‘repeal blasphemy laws that invite hatred’

Banner protesting against changes to the blasphemy laws, Peshawar 2017 (World Watch Monitor)
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), Ahmed Shaheed, has said that states that have blasphemy laws “should repeal them because of their stifling impact on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and on the ability to engage in a healthy . . . 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

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center
Over 80 countries favour a specific religion, either officially as a state religion or tacitly through special treatment, according to a new report by the US-based Pew Research Center. Islam is the most common state religion – 27 countries have it as their official religion, including 16 of the 20 . . . Read More

Turkmenistan repressing religious freedom through ‘fines, raids and torture’

Hero statues at Ashgabat Independence Monument. City of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Fines, raids and police brutality are some of the trademarks of Turkmenistan’s repeated violations of religious freedom, according to the latest report by regional news agency Forum 18. Protestant Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims have all been repeatedly repressed, according to the report, despite the UN reiterating its concerns. “Turkmen . . . Read More