Chhattisgarh’s tribal Christian communities continue to live in fear

For tribal Christian communities in India’s Chhattisgarh State, the new year hasn’t really come with hopes of a better or safer future.

On 2 January a Hindu nationalist mob barged into the Vishwa Dipti Christian School campus in Narayanpur district and vandalised a church located within the premises of the school. Videos of the mob repeatedly hitting statues of Jesus and Mary, and scattering furniture surfaced on the internet. Both members of the mob and the churchgoers belonged to local tribes in Narayanpur, the two most prominent of which are the Gond and Muria tribes.

But what grabbed national headlines and went viral on social media was the image of a bleeding senior police official who was attacked by the mob when he tried to intervene. Narayanpur’s Superintendent of Police Sadanand Kumar was soon rushed to the hospital after suffering a serious head injury. Christians in Chhattisgarh have suffered attacks like these for several months with hardly any interest from the media, but it was only when a person of power was injured that anyone paid any attention.

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As China, Eritrea, Iran and more extend repression beyond their own borders, we must do better

In November last year, Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK’s Security Service known as MI5, claimed that his agency had identified “at least ten” potential threats to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the Iranian regime. He added that the Iranian intelligence services “are prepared to take reckless action” against opponents in the West, including by luring individuals to Iran.

Coming at a time of intense civil unrest in Iran following the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for incorrectly wearing her hijab, McCallum’s comments highlighted a concerning issue that applies to several of the countries CSW works on: repressive regimes are becoming increasingly unafraid to reach beyond their borders.

China

Perhaps one of the most obvious examples is China, a global superpower which regularly uses its economic and geopolitical influence to shape decisions in international fora such as the Human Rights Council, and routinely metes out sanctions against Western parliamentarians and others who openly condemn the widespread violations taking place in the country.

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La intolerancia hacia los cristianos en muchas comunidades tribales de la India no termina aun ni con en la muerte

A la familia de Janki Sori no se le dio mucho tiempo para llorar. Después de haberla enterrado en su propia tierra el 1 de noviembre, solo pasaron dos días antes de que su cuerpo fuera exhumado contra los deseos de su familia por miembros de un grupo tribal conocido como Sarv Adivasi Samaj, la razón, fue debido a su conversión al cristianismo.

Sori, que tenía 35 años cuando murió, vivía en la aldea de Antagarh, en el estado indio de Chhattisgarh, donde la mayoría de la comunidad son animistas que adoran la naturaleza y los espíritus, al tiempo que obtienen cierta influencia del hinduismo.

Los que exhumaron su cuerpo afirmaron que su aldea pertenece solo a aquellos que siguen su religión y, después de enterrar a la Sra.  Sori en una aldea diferente el 4 de noviembre, el grupo afirmó que continuarían atacando a los conversos al cristianismo de la misma manera hasta que se “reconviertan” a la religión o a su ascendencia y cultura.

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La Justicia por fin llego a la República Centroafricana, pero el trabajo del gobierno aún no ha terminado

A finales de octubre, el Tribunal Penal Especial de la República Centroafricana (RCA), con respaldo internacional, emitió un veredicto en el primer juicio completo de la sala. El caso fue presentado contra tres líderes del grupo armado Retour, Réclamation et Réhabilitation (3R), que fueron declarados culpables de crímenes de guerra y crímenes de lesa humanidad.

Issa Sallet Adoum (alias Bozizé) fue condenado a cadena perpetua, y sus coacusados, Mahamat Tahir y Yaouba Ousman, recibieron 20 años de prisión cada uno.

Los tres fueron acusados de orquestar ataques contra las aldeas noroccidentales de Koundjili y Lomouna el 21 de mayo de 2019, en los quemurieron al menos 46 civiles desarmados y decenas más resultaron heridos. Se dice que los hombres atacaron a la población civil que no apoyaba a el 3R, atando y disparando a civiles antes de proceder  a someter a las  mujeres y niñas de las aldeas a violaciones masivas y  violencia sexual.

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Justice at last in the Central African Republic, but the government’s work is not finished yet

In late October the internationally-backed Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic (CAR) released a verdict in the chamber’s first full trial. The case was brought against three leaders of the armed group Retour, Réclamation et Réhabilitation (3R), who were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Issa Sallet Adoum (alias Bozizé) was sentenced to life imprisonment, and his co-defendants, Mahamat Tahir and Yaouba Ousman, each received 20-year prison sentences.

All three were accused of orchestrating attacks on the northwestern villages of Koundjili and Lomouna on 21 May 2019 in which at least 46 unarmed civilians were killed and dozens more were injured. The men are said to have targeted civilian populations that did not support 3R, tying up and shooting civilians before proceeding to subject women and girls in the villages to mass rape and sexual violence.

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