‘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

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

‘Crimes against humanity’ in North Korea’s prison camps

An icy Tumen river forms the border between China and North Korea, 2009. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
North Korea’s president, Kim Jong-un, and top officials should be held accountable for committing “crimes against humanity” in prison camps in the country, three international jurists said earlier this week. They called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to establish a special tribunal to prosecute the country’s leaders. The jurists’ . . . Read More

Freedom of thought ‘regressing on a global scale’

There are many Pakistani Christian women like Aasiya Noreen who live in fear of the Blasphemy law in their country and the (potential of) abuse. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, presented yesterday (5 December), should be alarming “to all who care about freedom of thought and expression”, as it shows “a pattern of regression on a global scale”, says its editor, Bob Churchill. The report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) . . . Read More

US to lift Sudan sanctions despite human rights concerns

Teenage girls carry water in a refugee camp for people from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The US has announced it will lift economic sanctions on Sudan “in recognition of [its] positive actions” in fighting terrorism, expanding humanitarian access and reinforcing a cease-fire in conflict areas, but rights groups say the decision is premature as there has been little progress on human rights. The decision, which . . . 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

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