From the April WEA Update
As WEA member alliances seek to strengthen religious freedom in their respective countries, U.N. mechanisms and bodies are proving to be an important medium to amplify their respective voices, and their impact. Below you will find an overview of some of our appeals and activities at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva in recent months.
In March, in a statement read before more than one hundred international diplomats gathered at the HRC, we called on the government of SRI LANKA to revoke the 2008 Circular related to the construction of places of worship that curtailed the rights of religious minorities and subjected them to harassment. (Written statement submitted together with the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka; Oral statement together with Christian Solidarity Worldwide; video).
We called on both INDIA and PAKISTAN to repeal anti-conversion and anti-blasphemy legislation respectively, to hold their law enforcement officials accountable when they fail to protect religious minorities, and to counter the stigmatization and hate against religious minorities. (Written statement submitted together with the Evangelical Fellowship of India; oral statement; video)
Together with L’Eglise Protestante d’Algérie, we called on the authorities of ALGERIA to re-open all churches closed since November 2017. (Written statement in French)
We urged the government of MALAYSIA to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all religious workers and the freedom to carry out their duties without intimidation or threat, and we called on Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to order new police investigations into the abduction of Pastor Koh and the disappearances of three religious activists. (Oral statement; video)
On April 3, Malaysia’s Human Rights Commission issued a report that, for the first time, accused State agents of the abduction of Pastor Koh in 2017. The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia issued a statement calling for the immediate investigation of all parties involved in the disappearances.
We appealed to the government of IRAQ to officially recognize the evangelical churches and grant them legal status. (Report)
We called on VIET NAM to review the 2016 Law on Belief and Religion, to protect the right of ethnic minorities to change religion, and to stop harassment, oppression and violence against Hmong Christians and other minority religious groups. (Report)
We reiterated that peace in the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC cannot take place without accountability for war crimes and justice. (Oral statement in French)
During a debate at the HRC on the mitigation and countering of rising nationalist populism, we affirmed that Christianity means loving our neighbors and welcoming the stranger, and we expressed concern that so-called Christian values have been leveraged to foster hatred and discrimination against those adhering to other religions, or from other nationalities and regions of the world. (Video)
During the same period, we met with diplomatic missions, U.N. representatives and other stakeholders, to convey more widely the messages and requests of our member alliances.