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Sri Lankan Cabinet approves proposed ban on burqas in public

Sri Lanka Colombo woman in burqa

Colombo, Sri LankaAP Sri Lanka’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposed ban on wearing full-face veils including Muslim burqas in public, citing national security grounds, despite a UN expert’s comment that it would violate international law.  The Cabinet approved the proposal by Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera at its weekly meeting, Weerasekara said on his […]

Concerns rise over Sri Lanka’s move to ban burqas

Sri Lanka Colombo busy street

Colombo, Sri LankaAP A Pakistani diplomat and a UN expert have expressed concerns over Sri Lanka’s proposed move to ban the wearing of burqas. Sri Lanka announced plans over the weekend to ban the wearing of burqas – garments worn by some Muslim women that cover the body and face – and also said it […]

Islamophobia on the rise, according to United Nations report

India Muslims protest Chinas treatmenmt of Uighurs

RNS A new report from the United Nations highlights growing Islamophobia and excessive surveillance of Muslims in countries around the world. The United Nations Human Rights Council report, which was released last week, is unsparing in its critique that governments around the world, including in the United States and China, should do more to combat […]

UN investigator: Rights of minorities to worship undermined

Uighur woman Xinjiang China

United NationsAP The UN special investigator on religious freedom urged countries to repeal laws undermining the right of minorities to worship and hold beliefs, pointing as examples to China’s detention of Uighurs, 21 countries that criminalise apostasy, and sweeping surveillance of Christians in North Korea and Muslims in Thailand. Ahmed Shaheed warned that “the failure […]

UK parliamentary group calls out 27 countries for “significant” religious freedom violations

World Watch Monitor A “Commentary on the Current State of Freedom of Religion or Belief” presented by a group of British parliamentarians on Monday highlights 27 countries where people’s religious freedom has been denied and abused in the past year. The report, presented by the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief on the 70th anniversary […]

“Eliminate” blasphemy laws, says US commission chief on International Blasphemy Day

Blasphemy riots

World Watch Monitor Blasphemy laws are “dangerous” and should be “eliminated”, the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, said in a story published in Newsweek to mark International Blasphemy Day on Sunday. The freedom to criticise or mock religion should not be decided by governments and their interpretation of laws, said Dr Tenzin Dorjee. […]

Religious freedom violations in Asia increasing – UN Rapporteur

World Watch Monitor Religious freedoms in Asia are “eroding”, with an increase in religious fundamentalism across much of the continent, according to UN Religious Freedom rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed. Shaheed spoke during an event, hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, on the back of the 4th Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference. “Freedom of religion […]

Uzbekistan says religious freedom ‘progressing’, despite new restrictions

World Watch Monitor Legislators in Uzbekistan’s Lower House are set to sign off a series of reform bills that will improve the human rights situation in the country. Uzbekistan is progressing towards rapid transformation, including political, economic, and importantly, religious freedom,” said the deputy chairman of the Uzbek Senate on 25th July at a side event […]

Tunisians protest against closure of cafes and restaurants during Ramadan


World Watch Monitor Non-Muslims in Tunisia have taken to the streets during this year’s Ramadan to protest the closure of many cafés and restaurants, saying they can’t be forced to fast, reports the New York Times. Around 100 protestors began Ramadan this year by drinking water and eating sandwiches in central Tunis in the middle of […]

UN rapporteur welcomes Uzbekistan’s religious freedom pledge

World Watch Monitor The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion of Belief has welcomed Uzbekistan’s pledge to implement the recommendations he made in the wake of a visit there in October last year. Uzbekistan has promised to implement 12 recommendations made by Ahmed Shaheed, and has given a timeline for each one, as well as supposed […]