Tajikistan’s new Religion Law ‘represents total control’

Tajikistan’s new Religion Law ‘represents total control’
Amendments to Tajikistan’s Religion Law, which came into force in January, have given the state a “total control” over religious freedoms, reports regional news agency Forum 18. “Instead of improving the Law, the amendments worsened it and made it more restrictive. The Law represents total control and is unjust,” human . . . 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

Kazakhstan: Hundreds punished for practising faith in 2017

Kazakhstan: Hundreds punished for practising faith in 2017
Kazakhstan prosecuted 283 individuals, groups and organisations last year for conducting activities related to religion, according to news agency Forum 18. The ‘offences’ included attending worship meetings, importing religious literature, telling other people about a faith, praying, allowing a parent to bring a child to a religious meeting, and inadequate . . . Read More

Chinese bishop reshuffle reinforces fears of state meddling

St Joseph's Church in Beijing.
Fears are growing that China’s communist government may be gaining more control over the Catholic Church there, as news emerged that the Vatican asked two bishops it had appointed to step aside in favour of ones selected by Beijing. These developments have taken place following a state campaign against China’s . . . Read More

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration
Six Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan have submitted a letter to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, asking to be allowed to register as official religious communities. Following the adoption of a new Law on Religious Organisations and Religious Freedom in March 2016, all religious entities are required to re-register in order to operate . . . Read More

Vietnam: Church told to take down Christmas nativity scene

St Joseph's Cathedral in Vietnam's capital Hanoi also faced challenges over ownership of the land next to the church which led to protests in 2008. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
One of the highlights at this time of year for the citizens of Communist Vietnam is to go to see often highly elaborate temporary ‘constructions’ showing the Nativity scene of Christ’s birth which local Christians build onto their churches or homes. There are, for instance, whole streets of such scenes . . . 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