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Human Rights Organization Condemns Persecution in Asia

November 2, 2005
Frankfurt, October 25 (idea) ­ A human rights organization has condemned the
persecution of Christian missionaries in Asia. According to the
International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) in Frankfurt, Germany, they
run a high risk of discrimination if they exercise their right to proclaim
their religion.



The organization emphasizes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948 protects missionary activity. Among
the signatories are some of the states with a high degree of persecution
such as India, Vietnam and the People¹s Republic of China.



Vietnam has a ³long tradition of persecution² according to ISHR. The clergy
of the officially recognized Protestant associations in South and North
Vietnam are subjected to discrimination by the Communist regime as well as
non-registered house churches.



This year houses of missionaries in several regions have been burnt to the
ground, according to ISHR. Missionaries working among ethnic minorities in
the mountainous regions of North and Central Vietnam have been imprisoned,
tortured and assaulted if they refused to abandon their faith.



Some rice fields belonging to Christians were confiscated and handed over to
party officials. Some districts had been declared ³free of Christians².
ISHR is concerned that the central government in Hanoi is not able to
contain local authorities.



Anti-conversion laws in some Indian states ease the persecution of
Christians, according to the human rights organization. It quotes several
examples. Sunny John, director of a children¹s home in Indore, Madhya
Pradesh, was arrested October 7 for alleged missionary activity among Hindu
children.



Hindu extremists beat the Catholic Ignatius Bara to death in Jharkand. In
June four Christians were taken into custody in Chattisgarh for alleged
missionary activities, and in February evangelist Kiran Kumar was arrested
in Orissa.



In Bangladesh militant Muslims murdered the Christians Kumar Roy (30) and
Liplal Marandi (35) July 29. They had been showing Christian videos.



In Indonesia Rebecca Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratnu Pangun are serving
three-year prison sentences. They ran a Sunday school with some Muslim
children. It was alleged that the three Christian women had exercised undue
religious influence, states the ISHR.



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