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Myanmar villages burned in deadly religious violence

THANDWE, Myanmar — At least five people were killed and hundreds displaced in the latest wave of religious violence in Myanmar. Muslims near the coastal town of Thandwe said they spent Tuesday night hiding in forests as Buddhist men armed with machetes stormed a string of villages, burning mosques and...

Lao PDR: Out of the darkness: Isolated Christians in Laos consistently refuse to give up on Christ

In a remote part of the world rarely noticed by the international media, a slow but steady struggle is underway. Small communities of Christian adherents tucked away in the jungles and mountains of Communist Laos are fighting a very real, if unheard of, battle. They are fighting for the...

Myanmar: Can the religious violence be ended?

There is renewed violence in western Myanmar, where Buddhist rioters stand accused of attacking Muslims in Rakhine state. The recent violence left at least four men and a 94-year-old woman dead, according to a police official. This whole situation … in all of Burma has been escalated to a point...

Myanmar releases 56 political prisoners on eve of regional summit

NEW DELHI -- Myanmar on Tuesday released 56 political prisoners, according to local media quoting government officials, part of a pledge to free all political detainees by the end of the year. The prisoners, including more than a dozen from Myanmar’s northern Kachin state, were released at 11 a.m., Aung...

Vietnam Lets Churches Thrive, but Keeps Control

A year ago in this poor hill-tribe village, police rounded up members of a small Catholic sect who were accused of trying to create an independent state. The leaders are in jail, followers who escaped have fled into the jungle and officers patrolling the muddy streets warn people to...

Malaysia: UN human rights panel will also REVIEW how M’sia handles RELIGIOUS issues

PETALING JAYA - The many unresolved religious freedom issues in Malaysia may be raised during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights in Geneva on Oct 24. Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria told theSun the lack of a strong culture for...

Indonesia: Munir supporters decry state’s ‘injustice’

The Supreme Court (MA) has cut the prison sentence handed down to Pollycarpus Budihari Prijanto, the convicted murderer of human rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib, from 20 years to 14 years. Many have cried foul over the fresh verdict, saying that it was unusual that the Supreme Court should overturn...

Myanmar: Fresh Violence in Arakan State Belies Government’s Disingenuous Assurances to UN Human Rights Council

A resurgence of inter-communal violence in Arakan State on 1 and 2 October has left six Muslims dead and dozens of homes destroyed, with mobs setting fire to houses in several villages in Sandoway Township just hours before President Thein Sein was due to arrive for an official visit...

Myanmar takes helm of ASEAN while sectarian violence persists

Myanmar last week took the baton from the Sultan of Brunei, assuming the rotating chair in 2014 of Asia’s most important regional organization, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In December the country otherwise known as Burma will also host the Southeast Asia Games, a coming-out party for...

Thailand: Rohingya boat people detained in southern Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) — More than 200 members of the Rohingya minority fleeing Myanmar have been detained in southern Thailand after their boat ran aground, a Thai official said Thursday. Thai district chief Watcharasak Chulayanon said the 219 men aboard swam ashore after their boat became stuck Wednesday off the coast...