Tag Archive | "religious liberty"

Man mourns the death of his family

Hudson Institute’s Persecution Report Sheds Light on International Religious Persecution

Man mourns the death of his family

A Shi’a man mourns the loss of family after a religiously motivated attack on a Pakistani marketplace leaves over 80 dead.

On April 13, 2013, members of the Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab shot 42-year-old Fartun Omar to death in Buulodbarbe, Somalia, less than a year after Omar’s husband was killed for converting to Christianity.  On April 8, 2013 a Russian prosecutor indicted sixteen Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Their crime: attempting to reorganize the local community of their religion after a court-ordered ban four years ago prompted the dissolution of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  On February 19, 2013, more than 80 people died after a bomb exploded in a market in Quetta, Pakistan frequented by Shi’a Muslims who are often targeted by Sunni extremists.

On three continents, members of three different faiths were targets of violence and discrimination because of their beliefs.  Tragically, while each story is unique, they are not unfamiliar.

According to a new study by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, approximately 75 percent of the world’s population live in countries with high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion or both.  Government restrictions include laws, policies, and actions that restrict religion while social hostilities measures religious hostility by private individuals and groups.  Despite the overwhelming occurrence of religiously motivated violence and state sponsored suppression, religion accounted for only .7 percent of all U.S. mainstream media coverage.  Even more troubling, only a small fracture of that percentage focused on international issues, such as international religious freedom.

In an attempt to reconcile the disparity between the number of individuals who suffer because of their religion and the dearth of media coverage regarding religious persecution, the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom has created the Persecution Report, a daily aggregator of news stories pertaining to violations of religious freedom.  Religious suffering occurs in the shadows of the American public consciousness, but literally penetrates into the depths of victims’ souls.  The Persecution Report seeks to be a light unto the dark world of religious persecution, not only to inform people of its occurrence, but to give hope to the persecuted that they will not suffer in silence.

Bryan Neihart worked with the Hudson Institute and is currently a second year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, a master’s candidate at the Korbel School of International Studies, and is DJILP’s incoming Survey Editor.

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The Dalai Lama

News Post: US Senate Reacts to Tibetan Self-Immolations

A twenty year-old Tibetan Monk, Lobsang Sherab, self-immolated on Wednesday, March 28 in the Changsha Township of Ngaba in Eastern Tibet.  He was consumed by the flames, and his body was taken away by Chinese paramilitary troops, despite pleas by fellow Tibetans to send the body to his family.  Sherab was ordained as a monk at the age of nine, and joined Ngaba’s Kirti Monastery’s dialectic college in October of 2011.

Sherab’s self-immolation is the most recent in an upswing of self-immolations by Tibetan monks and nuns, mainly occurring in the Ngaba region.  The Chinese Government began reacting to this trend in March of 2011, after a young Kirti monk named Phuntsog self-immolated, causing a show of solidarity by the other monks at the monastery.  In April of 2011, Chinese soldiers seized over 300 protesting monks from the Kirti Monastery, who have all disappeared since the seizure.  Beijing claims that these monks are undergoing “legal education” at undisclosed locations.

The nuns and monks are reacting to Beijing’s crackdowns on protests seeking freedom for Tibet, and the return of the Dalai Lama.

All this occurs as the Chinese Premier, Hu Jintao, attends the BRICS Summit in New Delhi, India, this week.  As leaders from Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa gathered to discuss emerging issues for their nations, a Tibetan man self-immolated in New Delhi, and scores of Tibetan women took to the streets outside the Summit in the hope of bringing attention to the fate of Tibet.  By day two of the Summit, 162 individuals were detained in conjunction with the protest. Quite unusually, 100 of these detainees were women.

The Dalai Lama

The US Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday, mourning Tibetans who have self-immolated and died during recent anti-China protests, and urging Secretary Clinton to hold Beijing accountable for its crackdown on religious freedom in Tibet.  The resolution is not legally binding, but it sends a strong message to China that the US will continue to stand behind the legitimate rights of people of all nationalities to practice their religion freely.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed firm opposition to the resolution immediately after it passed, and refuted all claims that the Chinese Government does not believe in freedom of religion.  He also urged the US Senate to refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs.

The US could never attempt to enforce its religious values in China due to the prevailing international legal norm of sovereignty.  Failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary, international law does not allow a state to enforce its norms and values in any form in the territory of another state.  A state’s title to exercise jurisdiction rests in its sovereignty.  The issue may only be resolved by the Chinese Government.

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University of Denver Sturm College of Law