Displaying items by tag: tolerance

Friday, 23 June 2017 11:14

Eritrea: Christians rounded up

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), 122 Eritrean Christians were detained in May 2017, in a series of roundups of members of unregistered denominations in various locations around the country. The detentions mark a new phase in a crackdown that has been ongoing since May 2002, when the Eritrean government effectively outlawed all religious practices except the Catholic, Lutheran or Orthodox Christian denominations or Sunni Islam. Forty-five Christians, including entire families, elderly men and a disabled woman, were taken in Adi Quala and transported to a detention camp, leaving 23 children without their parents. 77 others were taken from other places; 45 of them, mostly women, were at a party celebrating a wedding. Further arrests are anticipated as the local authorities and the Orthodox Church continue their enquiries. Christians have begun a period of prayer and fasting for peace and safety.

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Friday, 23 June 2017 11:05

Ongoing conflict in CAR

The mayor of a town in Central African Republic (CAR) said on 21 June that over a hundred people are dead after heavy fighting broke out, despite a peace agreement signed recently in Rome. Also, several dozen wounded have been brought to the hospital run by aid group Doctors Without Borders. However, the local Catholic mission says the death toll could be higher because it has been too dangerous for Red Cross teams to recover bodies from the streets. CAR is a country teetering on the edge of becoming a failed state. Half a million of the country's people have fled to neighbouring nations; a similar number are huddled in squalid camps inside CAR, dependent on food aid and the protection of UN peacekeepers and 900 French troops. CAR has faced fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the capital city, Bangui. Anti-Balaka militias, mostly Christians, fought back, resulting in thousands of people being killed. The peace deal signed on 19 June between nearly all the country's armed groups had called for an immediate cease-fire.

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A 34-year-old Christian, Ijaz, who had fled Pakistan for fear of persecution, received news on 26 May that his application for refugee status had been refused. The next day he died at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok. Some months earlier he complained of chest pains and was hospitalised, but doctors could not diagnose his problem. At the IDC, he was put in the punishment room because he could not pay his hospital bill. Eventually his local church in Bangkok paid the bill, with help from Barnabas Fund. The IDC doctor refused to allow his pastor to bring him medicine. Around 4,000 Pakistani Christians have fled persecution and made their way to Thailand, only to find that they are treated as criminals there. Immigration police carry out arbitrary mass arrests, even raiding worship services, searching for people without valid visas. Detainees are held in such harsh and horrifically overcrowded conditions that some have chosen to go back to Pakistan and face persecution. One source said that this desperate decision is often made because they are not receiving treatment for life-threatening medical conditions. ‘It is a 21st century concentration camp, without the gas chambers’, he said.

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