Mothers’ Union surveys membership for UN summit
WOMEN in rural communities face particular problems with isolation and poverty, and need specific intervention because of their unique challenges, the Mothers’ Union (MU) has said. Before the 62nd session of the United Nations’s Commission on the Status of Women, which began in New York on Monday, the MU surveyed its members to inform its contribution to the summit. The problems faced by women were remarkably similar in both the richer nations and the developing world, the MU’s chief executive, Beverley Jullien, said. Isolation, loneliness, exclusion from decision-making, access to services, and gender-based violence were the key themes for the UN to address.
Mob damages mission hospital in Madhya Pradesh
THE Pushpa Mission Hospital in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh was attacked by a mob of about 60 on Monday. The attackers, believed to be Hindu extremists, were angered by a property dispute between the long-standing Roman Catholic hospital and a local politician. A wall was demolished and power generators were destroyed, hospital officials reported. Nuns who work there were also reportedly harassed and intimidated. The RC Bishop of Ujjain, the Rt Revd Sebastian Vadakel, told the Crux website that the incident was “definitely an act against the Christian community”, and condemned a failure by police to intervene.
US pastor in Turkey may face life sentence
AN AMERICAN Evangelical pastor, the Revd Andrew Brunson, who has been detained in Turkey since the failed coup in the summer of 2016, could spend decades in prison after prosecutors revealed that they would seek a life sentence. He has ministering in Turkey for years as part of a small Evangelical church, but is accused of conspiring, with Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric in exile in the United States, to overthrow the Erdogan government. US diplomats and friends of Mr Brunson have ridiculed any suggestion that he was a spy or involved in the coup.
Activists condemn ID ruling in Pakistan
A RULING by the High Court in Islamabad concerning a petition from the ultra-religious Tehreek-e-Labaik party has been condemned by religious-freedom campaigners. In his judgment, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ruled that those who disguised their religious affiliation in applying for ID documents would be betraying the state, and that applicants for government jobs must also declare their faith. Nasir Saeed, the director of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, a UK-based group that supports Christians in Pakistan, said that the ruling would require the taking of a formal religious oath, and make religious minorities even more vulnerable. It has been suggested that the judge’s specific instructions were targeted at identifying members of the Ahmadi community, who are particularly vulnerable to prosecution for blasphemy, Reuters reported.