In several Latin
American countries, religious leaders often take on the roles of community
leader and human rights defender. As a result, these leaders often face
harassment, intimidation and even violence at the hands of state and non-state
actors. Over the past few weeks CSW has been presenting interviews with
religious leaders working in the region to highlight their experiences on the
frontlines of freedom of religion or belief.
Yilber is a Protestant
pastor based in Cuba.
“I have received so many threats in my life as a Christian that there are, honestly, too many to count. This is something I want to describe, and to do this I won’t rely on generalisations or abstract, subjective examples, I will expose the scars borne by my family ever since we left our town to do pastoral work.
Continue reading “FoRB on the Frontlines: “Everyone’s hatred was ever present””
Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre es un defensor de la Libertad de Religión quién fue detenido arbitrariamente el 12 de julio por agentes de seguridad del estado después de abandonar la sede de las Damas de Blanco en La Habana, donde había estado documentando violaciones de la libertad de religión o de creencias (LdRC). Pasó una semana detenido, durante los primeros cuatro días fue completamente incomunicado y no podía contactar su familia o amigos.
El 19 de julio Ricardo fue liberado. En esta
entrevista habla de su experiencia, y explico por qué va a seguir defendiendo
la LdRC a pesar de su encarcelamiento reciente.
Click here to read this post in English.
de los defensores de la Libertad de Religión y creencias en Cuba (LdRC) es un
camino largo, que pasa por las desilusiones (cuando los afectados se niegan a
denunciar) y por la represión gubernamental, cuando la policía política
persigue, acosa, hostiga y encarcela a los que tratan de hacer valer los
derechos humanos. Pero al final del camino está el agradecimiento sincero de
los que vieron sus casos resueltos y la convicción profunda de que Dios
respalda cada paso que damos llevando esperanzas, como ovejas en medio de lobos
de Mateo 10:16).
Izaguirre is a Cuban religious freedom defender who was arbitrarily detained on
Friday 12 July by state security agents after leaving the headquarters of the
Ladies in White in Havana where he had been documenting violations of freedom
of religion or belief (FoRB). He spent a week in detention, the first four days
of which he was completely incommunicado and unable to make or receive contact
from family or friends.
On 19 July Ricardo was
released. In this interview he details his experience, and explains why he will
continue to stand up for FoRB in Cuba despite his recent imprisonment.
Haz clic aquí para leer este blog en español
“The work of defenders of freedom of religion or belief
(FoRB) in Cuba is a long road which includes disappointments (when victims
refuse to report their experiences) and government repression, as political
police persecute, attack, harass, and imprison those who try to uphold human
rights. But the sincere gratitude of those who see their cases resolved, and
the profound conviction that God supports every step we take, bringing hope, like
sheep surrounded by wolves (Matthew 10:16)
is what can be found at the end of this road.
Continue reading “FoRB on the Frontlines: Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre”
In recent weeks Hong Kong has
seen unprecedented protests in which over one million demonstrators have taken
to the streets to protest a controversial extradition bill that would allow the
extradition of suspected criminals to Mainland China. On 9 July the city’s
leader, Carrie Lam, declared that the bill was ‘dead,’ however some
protesters remain concerned that the bill is still on the official agenda
and has not been formally withdrawn.
Near the beginning of the protests CSW spoke with a Chinese pastor who explained the main concerns regarding the bill, and what the bill may indicate about the general direction for freedom of religion or belief in Hong Kong.
Continue reading “Quick read: Hong Kong protests – an interview with a Chinese pastor”
Although Turkey’s constitution defines the country as a secular state, it
is caught between its secular and Islamic identities. The current government
has publicly endorsed a move towards a Sunni Muslim identity for the country,
conflating religious and national identities, by combining the religious
nationalism propagated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve
Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP) with the secular Nationalist Movement Party
(Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, or MHP)’s ideology of ‘ultra-nationalism,’ which
is defined as “extreme nationalism that promotes the interests of one state or
people above all others.”
Such incitement is visible in a variety of areas ranging from education and employment, to religious practices and day-to-day administrative procedures. There has also been a surge in the expression of anti-Semitism and anti-Christian sentiments in pro-government media.
Continue reading “Turkey under Erdogan: Caught between secular and Islamic identities”