In most countries around the world, 2020 saw the suspension of at least some communal religious activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuba was no exception. For several months, religious groups were unable to gather in public spaces and house churches, and the Ladies in White protest movement suspended their weekly marches after Sunday Mass.
Restrictions on aspects of the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) such as these are permitted under Article 18 of the ICCPR, provided they are “prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.” However, what is particularly concerning in Cuba’s case is that, even with the permitted activities of religious groups severely curtailed, the authorities continued to target such groups with routine and systematic violations of FoRB.
Business as usual amid unprecedented circumstances
CSW’s latest report on the situation of FoRB on the island finds that “despite social unrest and economic crisis during an unprecedented global pandemic, the government continues to target members of the religious sector and abuse human rights.”
Continue reading “Even COVID-19 couldn’t halt Cuba’s severe violations of freedom of religion or belief”
El apóstol Alain Toledano Valiente es un líder prominente en el Movimiento Apostólico en Cuba. También pastorea la Iglesia Emanuel en Santiago de Cuba con su esposa, Marilín Alayo Correa. Por más de dos décadas, han experimentado hostigamiento por parte de las autoridades cubanas.
En febrero del 2016, más de 200 líderes perteneciente a la denominación del Pastor Toledano fueron detenidos mientras las autoridades demolieron el edificio de la Iglesia Emanuel. El Pastor Toledano estaba fuera del país cuando la demolición ocurrió. Desde entonces ha sido frecuentemente impedido de viajar del país, sujetado a citaciones repetidas de la policía, y amenazado con el encarcelamiento en varias ocasiones.
En recientes meses, el Pastor Toledano y su familia ha continuado a experimentar acoso severo, a pesar de la pandemia COVID-19 y sus medidas relacionadas con el confinamiento.”
Continue reading “Voces de Cuba: Alain Toledano Valiente”
The recent decision by the United States (US) to lift two decades of sanctions on Sudan has been welcomed by some international actors, but received criticism from human rights organisations, campaigners and Sudanese opposition politicians.
The significance of this achievement for the government of Sudan cannot be understated.
Sudan has invested heavily in efforts towards the lifting of sanctions, including bringing the African Union on board and supporting the appointment of the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. The mandate holder is tasked with investigating the human rights impact of economic measures applied by one State to change policy of another State. After the creation of the role, the Special Rapporteur’s first visit was Sudan, where he advocated for the lifting of US sanctions.
Continue reading “Will Lifting Sanctions improve Human Rights in Sudan?”
Update: In May 2017 CSW received further information on the status of the AoG churches. Please read the latest information here.
In August 2016, CSW’s latest report on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Cuba detailed FoRB violations including the destruction of church property, arbitrary detention and harassment of religious leaders, and the demolition and confiscation of church buildings.
There has been some misreporting in the media about the situation concerning churches belonging to the Assemblies of God (AoG) denomination, in particular the situation regarding 1,400 AoG churches that are in the process of being expropriated by the government; 100 of which are under threat of demolition.
As CSW’s report explains, between January and July 2016 there was a continuation of serious FoRB violations in Cuba: “In line with previous years, these religious freedom violations are predominantly carried out by Cuban government officials and the Office of Religious Affairs (the ORA), and take place in many regions throughout the island.”
Continue reading “In Depth: The Process of Church Confiscations in Cuba”
When leaders of the G20 nations arrive in Zhejiang Province, China, next week for the G20 summit, they will be greeted by a different skyline than they might have seen five years ago.
The sky scrapers and shopping malls that have become the hallmark of China’s phenomenal economic growth will still be there, but the bright red Christian crosses which were once just as much a feature of Zhejiang have been taken down.
Removal of crosses in Zhejiang Province
Hundreds of crosses have been removed by the authorities since early 2014, as part of a campaign allegedly introduced to rid the province of structures which violate building regulations. Under draft regulations, crosses now have to be flat against outer walls, and their size and colour are restricted. The authorities have sometimes employed violent tactics in the face of protests by church members. Christian leaders who have opposed the cross removals through letters or peaceful gatherings have been arrested and accused of economic crimes.
Continue reading “In the Lead up to the G20 Summit, Questions Must be Asked About the Direction China is Taking.”
It may be no coincidence that the site of the cross removal campaign is the same province selected to host the G20.