Christians accuse government of war crimes
Five Christian victims of persecution by the military dictatorshipc in Myanmar are pleading their case in a Philippines court.
Churches and houses have been destroyed, people killed and their bodies mutilated
The Christians accuse Myanmar’s army of war crimes mainly in the Chin State, where churches and houses have been destroyed, people killed and their bodies mutilated.
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that, since the 2021 coup, the military junta has targeted Christians and attacked the Chin State because it is more than 85 per cent Christian.
We pray that our brothers and sisters in the Philippines will hear our cry
Salai Ling, one of the five victims, stated: “Pastors are being murdered and churches and faithbased schools are being destroyed in a systematic campaign by junta forces… we pray that our brothers and sisters in the Philippines will hear our cry and grant us justice.”
Documentary follows Christian family’s daring escape
A film showing how a North Korean Christian family escaped from barbaric persecution in the country has been hailed by The Guardian and recommended by Christian charity Open Doors.
Premier reports that ‘Beyond Utopia’, directed by Madeleine Gavin, has won awards at film festivals across the globe and has four nominations for the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, including Best Feature.
The film includes the family’s own footage as they made their way to South Korea by hiding in safe houses and even travelling on an underground railway, with the help of South Korean pastor Kim Sungeun.
An Open Doors representative said that Pastor Kim has helped 1,000 North Koreans escape.
Although some sources say the attacks on Christians in Nigeria have eased in recent months, deaths and kidnappings are still occurring.
Morning Star News reports that in one month (October), 16 Christians were murdered in Benue State alone. Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists were responsible.
Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution
Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List reports that this year “has seen this violence spill over into the Christian majority south of the nation… Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”
In Kaduna State, a Christian student was abducted and forced to convert to Islam by Kaduna State University staff, according to Morning Star News. Dorcas Adedayo Adekanola, 20, is still missing.
Leaders of Campus Mission Watch say Dorcas “has not been allowed to have any contact with her parents or other Christians on campus. This development has created fear in Christians on KASU campus.”
Pro-abortion protestors attack church
Christian lawyers filed a complaint against a pro-abortion organisation in October, after members of the group vandalised a Barcelona church and harassed people attending the church.
They taunted those who were attending Mass
The Observatory on Intolerance & Discrimination reports that the Spanish Christian Lawyers Foundation alleges that members of the Association of Sexual and Reproductive Rights sprayed offensive graffiti on the walls of the Santa María del Remei Church and taunted those who were attending Mass.
The lawyers say the slogans painted on the walls included statements such as “(piece of) trash church you are a dictatorship” and “abuser priests prohibit abortion”.
Two organisations investigate rise in persecution
Violence against Christians in India is on the rise, as Hindu nationalism grows and anti-conversion laws are being used against Christians.
However, two investigations into religious persecution have been set up. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the Indian government’s own Minorities Commission are both assessing the situation for religious minorities.
Congregations have had their buildings ransacked and destroyed
Since 2020, USCIRF has repeatedly urged the US to designate India as a country of particular concern, but church leaders do not believe the Indian Minorities Commission will achieve much. The United Christian Forum (UCF) has found that there are no Christians on the Commission’s panel.
The UCF says persecution has risen more than 45 per cent from 2022 to 2023. The Forum blames the anti-conversion laws that have been passed in nearly 40 per cent of India’s 28 states. The government’s nationalist BJP party is in charge in most of the states and UCF traces the rise in persecution back to the beginning of Premier Narendra Modi’s rule in 2014.
Human Rights Watch agrees: “Over the last decade there has been an undeniable increase in the number and frequency of attacks against religious minorities in India, especially Muslims and Christians.”
UK-based Release International reports that “anti-conversion laws supposedly target conversion by force or allurement. But the loose wording means any kind of charitable work could be considered a form of bribery. Congregations accused of forced conversion have had their buildings ransacked and property destroyed.”
One of the worst offending states is Uttar Pradesh, although the High Court in Allahabad recently came to the defence of Christians accused by Uttar Pradesh authorities. In September, the High Court ruled that Christians have a right to share their beliefs, give away Bibles and educate children. It also granted bail to Christians who were alleged to have disobeyed the anti-conversion law.
Release International welcomed the High Court’s decision and said they would be “looking for it to take effect throughout the state” and “we hope that other states will now review and reconsider their own anti-conversion laws.”