Following Biblical mandates carries a high price for religious leaders in Mexico

A religious leader and his colleague are kidnapped from a migrant shelter; they have not been seen or heard from since. Another is assaulted, extorted and threatened at gunpoint. Both provided protection to migrants and asylum seekers trapped on the border. In the same country, religious leaders warn that threats and attacks against them constitute one of the most serious problems facing churches today. Ironically, all this is taking place in what is considered to be one of the most religious countries in the world, Mexico.

The worsening situation for migrants and asylum seekers passing through Mexico has been exacerbated by the implementation of the US’ Migrant Protection Program (MPP) also known as ‘Remain in Mexico’ at the start of 2019.[1] The policy has made it increasingly difficult for migrants to win asylum cases in the US, only 0.1% of cases have been successful, and many have sought refuge in church-run migrant shelters across Mexico while they wait, especially at the northern border. On 28 February 2020, a US federal appeals court ruled that that the Remain in Mexico policy was illegal.

While many Protestant and Catholic leaders have responded to the rising levels of need in an outworking of their faith by following commands to help the poor,[2] shelter the homeless,[3] and love the foreigner,[4] their work makes them increasingly exposed to threats and attacks from organised criminal groups who prey on the vulnerable migrant population.

Continue reading “Following Biblical mandates carries a high price for religious leaders in Mexico”

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””

En la lĂ­nea del fuego frente a la LdRC: “El odio de toda la gente estaba presente.”

En algunos paĂ­ses latinoamericanos, lĂ­deres religiosos frecuentemente desempeñan papeles como lĂ­deres comunitarios y defensores de los derechos humanos. Como resultado, estos lĂ­deres se enfrentan al acoso, la intimidaciĂłn e incluso la violencia en las manos de actores estatales y no estatales. Durante las Ășltimas semanas CSW ha presentado entrevistas con lĂ­deres religiosos quienes trabajan en la regiĂłn para destacar sus experiencias en la primera lĂ­nea frente a la libertad de religiĂłn o creencia (LdRC).

Yilber es un pastor protestante trabajando en Cuba.

“He conocido tantas amenazas en mi vida cristiana, que sinceramente es imposible enumerarlas. Es algo que quiero ilustrar y para ello no me apoyarĂ© en generalidad alguna o ejemplos abstractos o subjetivos, sino que presentarĂ© las marcas que arrastra mi familia desde que salimos de nuestro pueblo a desempeñar funciones pastorales.

LEE mÁS

En la lĂ­nea de fuego frente a la LdRC: “Una competencia para el gobierno”

En algunos paĂ­ses latinoamericanos, lĂ­deres religiosos frecuentemente desempeñan papeles como lĂ­deres comunitarios y defensores de los derechos humanos. Como resultado, estos lĂ­deres se enfrentan al acoso, la intimidaciĂłn e incluso la violencia en las manos de actores estatales y no estatales. Durante las prĂłximas semanas CSW presentarĂĄ entrevistas con lĂ­deres religiosos quienes trabajan en la regiĂłn para destacar sus experiencias en la lĂ­nea de fuego frente  a la libertad de religiĂłn o creencia (LdRC).

David* es un líder religioso trabajando en Venezuela. Ha implicado el acompañamiento pastoral a víctimas de violaciones de sus derechos humanos.

“Para hacer un trabajo social en Venezuela – entregar alimentos, hacer otras cosas, cuestiĂłn que yo hago – hay que hacerlo con mucha discreciĂłn, hay que hacerlo con cierto cuidado, y sin embargo es imposible no arriesgarse.

En teorĂ­a nosotros tenemos la libertad religiosa en Venezuela, pero algunos sacerdotes y lĂ­deres religiosos son un blanco para el gobierno, que es una especie de confederaciĂłn de fuerzas que pretende mantenerse en el poder tratando de sostener su control social sobre las personas.

LEE MÁS

FoRB on the Frontlines: “A rival to the government”

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 next few weeks CSW will be presenting interviews with religious leaders working in the region to highlight their experiences on the frontlines of freedom of religion or belief.

David* is a religious leader working in Venezuela. In his role, he has provided pastoral accompaniment to victims of human rights violations.

“To do social work in Venezuela – distributing food and other things, the work that I do – you have to be very discreet, you have to be very careful, and even then it’s impossible not to put yourself at risk.

In theory we have freedom of religion in Venezuela, but some priests and religious leaders are a target for the government, which is a kind of confederation of forces that aims to stay in power by trying to maintain social control over the people.

Continue reading “FoRB on the Frontlines: “A rival to the government””