Set up to fail: Pakistan’s Single National Curriculum will only make life harder for religious minority children

In July 2020, the government of Pakistan announced the creation of a ‘Single National Curriculum’ (SNC) to replace its 2006 school curriculum. Given the country’s long history of discriminatory practices in educational settings, and the SNC’s stated objective of providing “all children… a fair and equal opportunity to receive high quality education,” one would have expected this to be a welcome development for minorities in Pakistan, a chance to tackle inequalities and division from the ground up.

Sadly, this was not the case.

In an attempt to make the proposed curriculum more digestible to Pakistan’s more conservative Islamist elements, and particularly to win the support of the country’s madrassahs (Islamic religious schools), the government of Punjab granted the Islamic Muttahida Ulema Board (MUB) a role in the review and approval of all textbooks under the SNC.

This has proved disastrous, providing the MUB with an opportunity to reinforce the sectarian and divisive agendas which have permeated the Pakistani education system for decades.

Continue reading “Set up to fail: Pakistan’s Single National Curriculum will only make life harder for religious minority children”

Cultura de impunidad en México Parte 1: Mediación en lugar de justicia

Si bien el tráfico de drogas en México está lejos de desaparecer, el presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) afirmó recientemente que “ya no hay guerra”. Tiene una nueva estrategia. El presidente dice que ya no están tratando de arrestar a los narcotraficantes, sino que quieren analizar las causas de la violencia.

“No hemos detenido a los jefes [de las bandas criminales] porque esa no es nuestra función principal. La función principal del gobierno es garantizar la seguridad pública … Lo importante para mí es bajar el número de homicidios, robos, que no haya secuestros. ¡Esto es lo esencial! No es algo extraordinario, porque perdimos mucho tiempo en esto y no resolvió nada ”.

Para lograr esto, AMLO parece estar buscando grupos religiosos.

Continue reading “Cultura de impunidad en México Parte 1: Mediación en lugar de justicia”

The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 3: “We just want to find a solution”

Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the story of the expropriation of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. The operation took place in January 2019 and saw the forcible eviction of thousands of residents and the destruction of over 500 homes. Today, nearly two years later the residents of Loc Hung continue to await justice.

Last week we heard from a 13-year-old resident of the garden who faced harassment at school. This week we are talking to Tran Minh-Thi, a local music teacher, who shares about her own experiences and reflects on the broader situation for children from the garden.

What is your connection with the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden case?

I was born and grew up in the vegetable garden and have lived here for over 40 years. My paternal grandparents migrated south to live and farm on the land. They passed it down to my parents, and myself and all my siblings all worked on the land as well until January 2019, when the demolition happened. My nieces and nephews also live and work on this land, so it has been in my family for four generations now. There are a lot of us – more than 70 in total – my grandparents had five children and my parents had 11, so with extended family it’s almost like one hundred.

Continue reading “The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 3: “We just want to find a solution””

The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 2: “Even though I was scared, I didn’t comply”

Last week we published the first instalment in our series looking at the story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Vietnam, in which we interviewed Cao Ha Truc about his experiences. For the second instalment we spoke to a child from the community who told us about his experiences of harassment at his school.

How old are you?

I am 13 years old.

Continue reading “The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 2: “Even though I was scared, I didn’t comply””

FoRB on the Frontlines: “Everyone’s hatred was ever present”

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””