Displaying items by tag: injustice
The police forces in Turkey’s Kurdish region resemble occupying armies. Government-appointed mayors, police brutality and armies of imams have altered society’s fabric. Allegations against Special Forces of rape and sexual harassment are ignored. If such accusations are publicised, officials will dismiss it as affairs between soldiers and girls who want to marry them. A former mayor commented, ‘It is better that they are involved in prostitution than protesting the government.’ A young Kurd who photographed a policeman killing an innocent Kurd in 2017 now faces twenty years in prison, while the policeman goes unpunished. Also recently hundreds of army officers, pilots and civilians were jailed for life for taking part in the 2016 attempted coup to overthrow President Erdoğan. The acquittal of the police officer and the hundreds jailed comes when Erdogan is trying to attract foreign investors. Even the simplest reforms would demand drastically altering the way Turkey polices, prosecutes, judges, and imprisons its residents. See
In July Filmon, an Eritrean victim of anti-Christian persecution, applied for political asylum via Port Elizabeth (PE). The Department of Home Affairs told him to return after a month. Despite a court order for the department to reopen its Cape Town office, people like Filmon have to make repeated trips to PE. When he finally had a hearing on 9 October, the official concluded he was a genuine victim of religious persecution - but in November his application was refused, and despite being assisted by an experienced lawyer he got a permit for only one month. His wife Sharon, a medical doctor, who fled from their Marxist-governed country ahead of her husband, was also refused asylum. Filmon has been advised to pay a bribe, as the only way to be successful, but as a matter of principle he does not wish to do this. He now has to go to PE for the fifth time, unless God intervenes.
A local authority has ordered the demolition of a newly-built church after a month of use, ostensibly for lack of planning permission, even though no other building in the locality had any. Pastor Newton Das bought land for a church in August 2018. To save costs he hired local contractors and had substantial help through congregation volunteers, eager to begin worshipping in a proper church. The vision was fulfilled on 7 August, when 200+ believers attended 'Church of Jesus’ Anointing' at its launch, but by the second week the church was asked to close as they had no planning permission. Discussions were unsuccessful, and a JCB demolished the church boundary wall and building. Other unplanned buildings have been left intact. The congregation have not let hatred towards them shake their confidence or love for God.
Blind pastor Balu Saste's case took three years to be settled in court; his acquittal is being hailed as a triumph by Christian persecution watch groups. The pastor, his wife, and eleven church members were violently attacked by a mob during church services. Police arrested him, his wife, and their six-year-old son, stripped them, beat them, detained them without bail for three days, and falsely charged them with forcing Christian conversions. The story is not unique. Violence against Christians has risen significantly. In three months the United Christian Forum and ADF India have documented over 80 violent mob attacks against Christians in 13 different states across India. The attacks often take a similar shape, and rarely receive police attention. Christians face injustice continually, and the ruling in Balu’s case shows that the fundamental rights of religious minorities can and should be protected in the courtroom and through effective legal advocacy.
Stoning to death and amputation as punishments - including for children - are provided for in newly-implemented sections of the Brunei Darussalam sharia penal code that came into force on 3 April, according to a discreet notice on the attorney general’s website. ‘To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. Some of the potential “offences” should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender’,said a researcher at Amnesty International. These abusive provisions received widespread condemnation when first discussed five years ago. Amnesty expressed grave concerns: ‘This penal code is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate human rights. As well as imposing cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, it blatantly restricts the rights to freedom of expression, religion, and belief, and codifies discrimination against women and girls.’
The Foreign Office (FO) has been recouping the cost of repatriating young women who were forced into marriages overseas, prompting charities to criticise it for making women ‘pay for their protection’. Many of the 82 victims of forced marriage repatriated in 2016-17 had to pay for living costs incurred between making distress calls and returning home, as well as their airfare; others received loans which they had to repay. They had to give up their passports until they had repaid the debt, with a surcharge added after six months. But many could not find work because potential employers wanted to see their passport, which the FO held. Four young British women imprisoned and tortured at a ‘correctional’ religious school in Somalia ahead of expected forced marriages had to pay £740 to return home; they said the burden of having to repay the loans contributed to their becoming destitute.
Sir John Major has called the government to rethink the nationwide roll-out of Universal Credit, warning of an unfair cost to families. Benefit changes coming into force next year have been compared to the poll tax that caused the downfall of Margaret Thatcher. About 3.2 million households will be worse off by about £50 a week, according to the Resolution Foundation think-tank. Theresa May has promised financial help for those affected. But the compensation system is not in place yet - and fewer than 20% of affected families are expected to receive support from it. People whose circumstances change, who make a brand-new claim, or who come off benefits and then go back on them, will not be protected. Veteran anti-poverty campaigner Frank Field said families in his Birkenhead constituency were being forced into ‘destitution’ by the introduction of Universal Credit.
Ten years ago, three illiterate Christians from a remote area in Odisha state were arrested. Two months later four other Christians were arrested. They are all still in jail charged with the 2008 murder of a Hindu leader that triggered the worst anti-Christian violence in India, orchestrated by a Hindu nationalist group claiming that the murder was a ‘Christian conspiracy’. They were convicted to life imprisonment even though two trial court judges openly indicated during the trial that the accused were innocent. In 2015, two top police officials (who had relied upon the same conspiracy theory to ensure the conviction of the innocent Christians) testified before a judicial inquiry commission that allegations were false. Despite this, the appeal hearing has been constantly postponed.
The USA has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country. According to the IRS, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues annually. Corporations sheltered over $2.5 trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and they paid no taxes. Bankers earned billions in profits from mortgage foreclosures of working class households through ‘favourable’ legal rulings. Over 20 million individuals lost their properties due to illegal or fraudulent debts. Silicon Valley’s billionaires pay manual and service workers poverty level wages. Class inequalities are reinforced by ethnic divisions. White, Chinese and Indian multi-millionaires exploit Afro-American, Latin American, Vietnamese and Filipino workers. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion.
Hostility, injustice and violence are a daily reality for millions of Christians across the Horn of Africa. In Somalia the militant Al-Shabaab group frequently kills suspected Christians on the spot, and believers keep their faith completely secret. In Eritrea the government views Christians as agents of the West and will arrest, harass and kill them with impunity. Hundreds are imprisoned in horrific conditions. Ethiopia is a Christian-majority country, but converts from Islam are rejected by their families and communities. In Kenya Al-Shabaab militants cross the border from Somalia. They killed dozens of Kenyan Christians last year. In Djibouti rumours of conversion are often enough for believers to lose their inheritance rights or custody of their children. Imagine living where, because you’re a Christian, you fail your studies, your neighbours beat you up, your home is destroyed, your family is put in prison, your father is killed. Would you lose heart, give up, change your faith? Please pray for those experiencing this daily.