In a report by Amnesty International, the human rights group stated that religious and ethnic intolerance grew in the Asia-Pacific region in 2015. Countries like Pakistan, Vietnam, India, and China topped the list of countries the group expressed concern about in its report, released on February 24. As religious intolerance grows in this region, Christian persecution also grows. Often a minority community in Asian nations, Christian face persecution both from intolerant government and religious extremist groups. Will 2016 be a year where this trend is reversed?
2/25/2016 Asia (UCAN) – Religious and ethnic intolerance rose throughout the Asia-Pacific region in 2015 due to discriminatory government policies, said an Amnesty International report launched Feb. 24.
“Some authorities [in the region] colluded in, or failed to address, an increasing trend of religious and ethnic intolerance, exclusion and discrimination,” London-based Amnesty International said in its annual assessment of human rights around the world.
“Abuses were reported in countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam,” the report said.
The report also underlined failures by the Indonesian government to protect the country’s religious minority groups, including Christians in Aceh province.
“Local authorities in Aceh province tore down Christian churches, with mob violence forcing around 4,000 people to flee to North Sumatra province,” the report said.
Amnesty also expressed concern that authorities in China were increasingly stifling freedom of religion.
“A government campaign to demolish churches and take down Christian crosses in Zhejiang province intensified and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners included arbitrary detention, unfair trials, imprisonment and torture and other ill-treatment,” the report said.
Freedom of religion continued to be systematically suppressed in areas such as Xinjiang province and Tibet, the rights group said.
India was also cited as an area of concern with Amnesty accusing the authorities of failing to protect the rights of religious minorities.
“In India, authorities failed to prevent many incidents of religious violence, and sometimes contributed to tensions through polarizing speeches,” the report said.