No case highlights the fervour and frustration associated with blasphemy more than that of Asia Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi), the Pakistani Christian woman who was falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010.
Throughout Bibi’s protracted legal case, the worst instincts
of certain sections of Pakistani society were brought to the fore and played
out in national and international media as Islamist groups staged violent
demonstrations calling for her execution on multiple occasions, even after her conviction
was overturned by
the Supreme Court in 2018. Following a nine-year ordeal, Asia Bibi
and her family were eventually taken to Canada to start a new life, but for many
other victims their fate is less hopeful, and they are left languishing under
long jail sentences, prolonged when cases are adjourned without hearing.
Continue reading “Long read: The forgotten faces and hidden history of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws”
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”
Over the past year, the Chinese government has intensified
its crackdown on Christians and other religious groups across China.
incarceration of over one million predominantly Muslim Uyghurs,
Kazakhs and members of other ethnic groups in ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang since
2017 has alarmed the international community, with the detentions receiving UN
condemnation. At the same time, Christians across China are also being
relentlessly targeted by the Chinese state apparatus, with countless violations
ranging from the arrest and torture of religious practitioners to the forced
closure of places of worship remaining a daily reality for those peacefully
exercising their universal right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).
Since the revised regulations on religious affairs came into effect on 1 February 2018, reports have emerged of the removal of over 7,000 crosses in Henan province alone. Christians in Henan have also reported that unregistered churches across the province have been forcibly shuttered by authorities. Outside of Henan, in the wake of the revised regulations authorities across China continue to harass worshippers and restrict religious observance at state-approved churches by removing religious symbols from buildings, banning under-18s from religious activities, and forcing churches to install cameras and sing pro-Communist songs.
Continue reading “‘Faithful disobedience’ in the face of a relentless crackdown: one year since China’s Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs.”
The Ladies in White are a Cuban peaceful protest movement comprising the wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. Last year CSW interviewed their leader, Berta Soler, about her experiences, and the challenges facing Cuba:
“My activism really got started in 2003 when the government took [imprisoned] 75 men and one woman just because they defended the Declaration of Human Rights.
I and the other Ladies in White are women who are prepared, very well prepared, and aware that we are in a struggle for the freedom of political prisoners and for respect for human rights in my country. And we, the Ladies in White and I, are very conscious that in my country we need freedom and rights, especially for the men and women who are in prison just for demanding this and promoting and defending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Continue reading “FoRB on the Frontlines: Fighting for freedom as long as it’s necessary”