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HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCY DENOUNCES PERSECUTION IN ASIA
Assist News Service
Wolfgang Polzer

A human rights organization has denounced 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 People’s Republic of China .
Vietnam has a “long tradition of persecution” according to ISHR. The clergy of the officially recognized Protestant associations in South and North Vietnam as well as non-registered house churches are subject to discrimination by the Communist regime.
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 “free of Christians”. ISHR is concerned that the central government in Hanoi is not able to contain local authorities.
Anti-conversion laws in some Indian states increase the persecution of Christians, according to the human rights organization. It quotes several examples. Sunny John, director of a children’s 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.