Intolerance towards Christians in many tribal communities in India does not end even in death

Janki Sori’s family were not given much time to grieve. Having laid her to rest in their own land on 1 November, only two days passed before her body was exhumed against her family’s wishes by members of a tribal group known as the Sarv Adivasi Samaj – all because of her conversion to Christianity.

Ms Sori, who was 35 years old when she died, lived in the village of Antagarh in India’s Chhattisgarh state, where the majority of the community are animists who worship nature and spirits, while also drawing some influence from Hinduism.

Those who exhumed her body claimed that their village belongs only to those who follow their religion, and, after burying Ms Sori in a different village on 4 November, the group claimed that they would continue to target converts to Christianity in the same manner until they ‘re-convert’ to the religion or their ancestry and culture.

Continue reading “Intolerance towards Christians in many tribal communities in India does not end even in death”

“We do not sleep with our eyes closed” – how long will the international community fail the people of southern Kaduna?

“We do not sleep with our eyes closed; we take a nap, then wake up and keep watch… we are just depending on the grace of God.”

These are the words of a villager from the Maro Ward of Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) in the southern part of Nigeria’s Kaduna state. In the absence of effective security or government assistance, this is what targeted communities across the state have been forced into: spending their days and nights on alert patrolling, living in fear of terrorists who destroy their crops, take their lives, and abduct hundreds, if not thousands, for ransom.

Kaduna has been an epicentre of violence and banditry for several years now, with attacks on non-Muslim farming communities in the south increasing exponentially with the advent of the current administration amid a general deterioration in security.

Continue reading “We do not sleep with our eyes closed” – how long will the international community fail the people of southern Kaduna?

Decepciones en la ONU, pero no debemos dejar que los desafíos oscurezcan el bien que puede lograr

A principios del mes pasado, la Asamblea General de la ONU (AGNU) votó para elegir a 14 nuevos miembros del Consejo de Derechos Humanos (CDH) para servir del año 2023  a  2025. Entre los candidatos se encontraban Sudán y Vietnam.  El primero fue elegido en una elección de pizarra limpia, lo que significa que el número de candidatos igualó el número de escaños disponibles, mientras que el segundo derrotó a Afganistán y la República de Corea (Corea del Sur).

La elección de ambos estados es profundamente decepcionante.

Sudán está dirigido actualmente por un líder militar que tomó el poder ilegalmente el gobierno de transición esta liderado por civiles en un golpe de Estado en  octubre de 2021, y  donde  el año pasado se caracterizó por el asesinato y la brutalidad  en contra de manifestantes pacíficos, y los intentos de revertir los limitados avances en materia de derechos humanos logrados bajo el gobierno de transición, incluso en relación con el derecho a la libertad de religión o creencias.

El Partido Comunista Vietnamita (PCV) ha liderado la parte norte de Vietnam desde 1954, y tomó el control del resto del país en 1975, tras el colapso del gobierno de Vietnam del Sur. Durante ese tiempo, el PCV ha violado repetidas ocaciones los derechos humanos, incluida la LROC y los derechos a la tierra, mientras que continuamente ataca a quienes solicitan o defienden tales derechos con acoso, detención arbitraria, encarcelamiento, violencia física e incluso tortura.

Continue reading Decepciones en la ONU, pero no debemos dejar que los desafíos oscurezcan el bien que puede lograr

Disappointments at the UN, but we must not let the challenges obscure the good that it can achieve

Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted to elect 14 new members to the Human Rights Council (HRC) to serve from 2023 to 2025. Among those elected were Sudan and Vietnam. The former was selected in a clean slate election, meaning that the number of candidates equaled the number of seats available, while the latter defeated Afghanistan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). 

The election of both of these states is deeply disappointing.  

Sudan is currently led by a military leader who seized power illegally from the civilian-led transitional government in an October 2021 coup, and where the past year has been characterized by the killing and brutalising of peaceful protesters, and attempts to reverse the limited human rights gains made under the transitional government, including in relation to the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB). 

The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) has led the northern part of Vietnam since 1954, and took control of the rest of the country in 1975, following the collapse of the South Vietnamese government. During that time, the VCP has repeatedly violated human rights, including FoRB and land rights, whilst routinely targeting those who request or advocate for such rights with harassment, arbitrary detention, imprisonment, physical violence and even torture

Continue reading “Disappointments at the UN, but we must not let the challenges obscure the good that it can achieve”

Another terrorist attack reminds us of the Taliban’s failure to protect Afghan citizens

This piece was originally published on 14 October 2022 in Sight Magazine.

This time last year saw two shocking attacks on Afghanistan’s Shia Muslim community. First, on 8 October 2021, a suicide bomber affiliated with the Islamic State – Khorasan Province targeted a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz with an attack timed to coincide with Friday prayers which claimed at least 50 lives and injured 100 others. Some estimates placed the death toll as high as 100.

Then, exactly one week later, terrorists bombed another Shia mosque, again timed to coincide with Friday prayers, in the southern city of Kandahar. Estimates of those killed range between 47 and 65, while at least 80 others were said to have been injured.

CSW wrote at the time that the attacks “raised questions about the Taliban’s ability to offer security to citizens of Afghanistan, which they had presented as a key benefit of their rule.” And then, last month, with the anniversaries of both attacks on the horizon, the Shia community was targeted once again.

Continue reading Another terrorist attack reminds us of the Taliban’s failure to protect Afghan citizens