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World news in brief

17 July 2020


No entry: Three people pray in front of the closed doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jeruslaem, last Friday. The church has been closed since March, owing to the coronavirus pandemic

No entry: Three people pray in front of the closed doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jeruslaem, last Friday. The church has been clos...


Myanmar’s religious leaders call for unity

FORTY-THREE religious leaders in Myanmar issued a statement on Monday calling for unity among the country’s ethnic, political, and religious groups in the run-up to an election in November. Leaders of the Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu communities called for all sides to listen to one another and work towards the good of the country. They lamented that “people cling to the folly of assuming a ranking in ethnic differences”. They also spoke out against poverty, drug abuse, and threats to the environment faced by the country.


Sudan to end death penalty for apostasy

THE government of Sudan announced last week that it would abolish the death sentence for those found guilty of apostasy. Article 126 of Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Code had been criticised for its use in targeting the country’s religious minorities and restricting freedom of expression and religion. Other recent amendments to the country’s criminal code have included the ending of public flogging, the banning of female genital mutilation (FGM), allowing non-Muslims to drink, import, and sell alcohol, and giving women the right to travel abroad with their children without producing proof of permission from their husbands.


Lord Williams leads letter about Iranian prisons

THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams is the lead signatory among 38 serving and retired bishops in the UK who have called on the United Nations to visit Iran’s prisons urgently. They fear that people who took part in the recent anti-government protests are at risk of torture and execution. The letter says: “We are deeply concerned about the human-rights situation in Iran, which has deteriorated for the worse during the last years. . . We applaud the UK Government’s decision to classify Iran as a human rights priority. . . We now call on the UK Government and the FCO to do more at the UN and internationally in order to turn this commitment into concrete actions that ends impunity that the perpetrators of serious human rights violations enjoy in Iran.” The Archbishops of York and Wales, and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, are among the other signatories.



Disabled people’s pandemic stories recorded

THE Christian disability charity CBM has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the voices of those living with disabilities during the pandemic. Coronavirus: My Story features eight videos made by women and men from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, and Zimbabwe, in which they speak about their experiences during the pandemic. CBM said that the stories “show the wide range of challenges that women and men with disabilities are facing including loss of income, lack of access to health care, and difficulties accessing personal care and support”. But they also show, CBM said, “how people with disabilities and their representative organisations are playing a valuable role in responding to the crisis”. www.cbmuk.org.uk

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