Controversial Chinese Dam Project now Operational in Tibet

By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Impunity Watch, Managing Editor

LHASA, Tibet – The Chinese government has announced that it has completed a major hydropower dam project on the Brahmaputra River, called Yarlung Zangbo River, in Tibet. The Dam, now Tibet’s largest hydropower station, became partly operational last Sunday. The Chinese government described the $1.5 billion project as a “huge project, which straddles the middle reaches of the roaring Yarlung Zangbo River, will have power capacity of 510,000kW after its four-year construction.” The Dam will be 116 meters (381 feet) high when completed next year. Beijing said the project would be useful in “harnessing the rich water resources of the Yarlung Zangbo River to empower the development of the electricity-strapped region.” An official from the Tibetan Electric Power Co. was quoted as saying “The hydropower station will solve Tibet’s power shortage, especially in the winter.” However the times of India claims the massive dam project will also most likely affect the amount of water flowing to downstream regions, including the amount flowing into the Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern regions of India, where the populations are heavily dependent on farming for economic survival. Like other massive dam projects in China the dam has sparked controversy and fears that tensions may rise between China and its downstream neighbors. China’s massive hydropower projects have displaced millions of people throughout the country along China’s largest watersheds. The projects also reduce the natural flow of fresh water to downstream regions and disrupt the flow of natural silts critical for ecosystem and agricultural health, negatively impacting downstream communities.

The Brahmaputra river in the Arunachal Pradesh region. (Photo courtesy of India Today)

The Indian government has previously expressed concern about damming the Brahmaputra River, arguing that the massive Himalayan watershed is a lifeline to some of India’s remote northeastern states, communities who depend on farming for survival. Last year the Indian External Affairs ministry urged China “to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas” of the river, after state media reports that China planned several more dams in the region. However, New Delhi has had some difficulty arguing that the dam will create environmental justice concerns for its people because the Indian government has long supported the construction of massive hydropower stations along its own watersheds, despite the negative impacts on the environment created by those projects, especially in neighborhood Pakistan. S M Krishna, A previous Indian External Affairs minister has said New Delhi had “ascertained from our own sources that this is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project which does not store water and will not adversely impact downstream areas in India.”

The Chinese Dam on the Brahmaputra is a run-of-the-river dam, a dam designer that creates a smaller retaining pool than traditional dam projects. Despite the argument that the flow of water from run-of-the-river dams is does not have a major impact on water flow these massive dams still have significant effects on the watershed. India has constructed several controversial run-of-the river dams in recent decades and is currently working on the massive Baglihar Dam project on the Chenab River in the Jemma and Kashmir region which resulted in a water dispute between India and Pakistan. The government of Pakistan has argued that the Baglihar Dam project violates the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, a treaty intended to prevent armed conflicts over the flow of water between the two countries.

For more information please see:

First Post India – China Builds Dam on Brahmaputra in Tibet, Stokes Fear in India – 24 November 2014

International Business Times India – India Fears Natural Calamities as China Builds Hydropower Dam on Brahmaputra in Tibet – 24 November 2014

The Times of India – China Builds Hydroelectric Dam On Brahmaputra in Tibet, India Fears Flash Floods – 24 November 2014

India Today – China Puts First Brahmaputra Dam into Operation – 23 November 2014

Pope Francis travels to Turkey to address xenophobia, the persecution of Christians, and Eastern and Western Reunification

By Ashley Repp

News Desk Reporter, Middle East

Istanbul, Turkey

As the situation in the Middle East becomes ever more dire, Pope Francis traveled to Turkey to discuss Isil, refugees, Christian expulsion, Islamiphobia, and the reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis and Orthodox Christian leaders pray at the Blue Mosque (Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera)

In a display of humility, mutual respect, and the understanding of the grave situation of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, many of whom are Christians, Bartholomew I, Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, and Pope Francis, jointly condemned the violence that has escalated in the Middle East. The Middle East has traditionally been home to Christians since the birth of the religion more than 2,000 years ago. In recent decades, renewed persecution of Christians has forced many to leave their homes and settle in Western countries. For example, just since 2003, the Christian population in Iraq has fallen by 70%.

Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee as Isil tightens its grip on the region. Remaining in Syria and Iraq means risking likely death and persecution for religious beliefs. Fleeing offers refugees not only a chance for survival, but a chance to continue to practice their religious faith. Jordan and Turkey have become refuges for those escaping the fundamental Sunni Islam imposed under Isil. But the burden of so many refugees will begin to weigh more heavily on those countries hosting them, which is likely to exacerbate issues in an already relatively unstable Middle East.

Pope Francis addressed the issue of fundamentalism, the primary reason religious minorities have been forced to flee their homes, during his trip to Turkey. He called for an end to fundamentalism and its devastating effects that take a serious toll on the lives it touches. Now, Pope Francis asserted, more than ever is the time for interfaith dialogue, respect, and friendship. He also urged that military intervention is not the way to end fundamentalism and extremism; rather, addressing the needs of the impoverished and starving is the most viable way to end fundamentalism. Pope Francis urged that addressing the needs of those most in need is not simply applicable to the Middle East, but to the world as a whole.

The joint efforts by the Bartholomew I and Pope Francis suggest a desire to establish closer ties between the Eastern and Western wings of Christianity. These efforts, as well as closer ties between the two churches, may enable Christian leaders to better handle the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, particularly under Isil.

For more information, please visit:

The Telegraph- Pope and Patriarch condemn expulsion of Christians from the Middle East- 30 Nov, 2014

The Guardian- Pope and Patriarch condemn Middle East persecution of Christians– 30 Nov, 2014

Reuters- Pope condemns ‘barbaric violence’ of Islamic State– 28 Nov, 2014

Deutsche Welle- Pope Francis raises alarm over Middle East conflict in Turkey Visit- 28 Nov, 2014

Life imprisonment for homosexuals in The Gambia

By Ashley Rep

News Desk Reporter, Africa

 

Banjul, The Gambia-

The Gambia, a small, landlocked country in Africa, has long had some of the strictest anti-gay laws on the books. This fall though, the already oppressive laws that loom over the gay community in The Gambia, worsened.   A new law, signed by President Yahya Jammeh, provides that ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ is now an offense that carries a sentence of life imprisonment.

Senegal Gays In Exile
Alhaji, 21 (last name withheld), fled to Senegal to escape persecution (photo courtesy of Huffington Post)

The law is targeted at repeat offenders and those who are suspected of being homosexuals and have HIV/AIDS. The language of the law is vague and broad, which compounds the problem of the law’s already expansive reach and devastating effect. In addition to repeat offenders and HIV/AIDS positive individuals suspected of homosexuality, the term ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ appears to also apply to those who are suspected of engaging sexually with a minor, as well as those who are suspected of homosexuality and have a minor in their care. The homosexual community in The Gambia already lives in fear of hate crimes, exclusion, and punishment for their sexual orientation, but with this law now in effect, there is life imprisonment to worry about.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the new law and the treatment of homosexuals in The Gambia generally, contending that this law exacerbates the oppression the community faces. President Barak Obama has called the law ‘odious,’ and urged President Jammeh to reassess these actions taken against homosexuals. No level of urging seems to sway President Jammeh, an autocratic ruler, who, just this past February, publicly announced “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively” and in 2008 suggested that all homosexuals should leave the country or risk being beheaded.

Since November 7, state forces have stepped up efforts to crack down on homosexuality. Many individuals have been detained for questioning, and report having been threatened with a device to be inserted into the anus or vagina to determine sexuality. Torture is also a concern of rights groups, as many of the suspected are detained for extended periods of time. The state is also reportedly compiling a list of names for future questioning and detention.

The language of the new law almost exactly mirrors the anti-gay laws enacted in Uganda this past year, another extremely oppressive country in Africa for homosexuals and those suspected of homosexuality. The laws in Uganda were widely criticized, and were overturned on a technicality.

For more information, please visit:

BBC News- Gambia’s President Jammeh asked to reject anti-gay law– 10 Sept, 2014

The Guardian- The Gambia passes bill imposing life sentences for some homosexual acts– 8 Sept, 2014

Amnesty International- Gambia’s latest anti-gay bill– 18 Nov, 2014

Huffington Post- Gambia passes anti-gay bill imposing life imprisonment for some same-sex acts– 8 Sept, 2014

The Weekly report from 1 till 7 November of 2014

Violations Documentation Center in Syria: From 25 – 31 October of 2014

The Weekly Report on Dignity Revolution’s Martyrs

From 25 till 31 October of 2014

Violations Documentation Center in Syria

 

Introduction and Citation:

This report covers the period from Sat 2510-2014 until Fri 3110-2014. However, it is worth pointing out the following:

  1. Fatalities of the regime, the Army of National Defense (Shabiha), Lebanese Hizbullah, Iraqi and Iranian Militias are not included in the reported death toll. The report includes the number of victims on the hands of the regime and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and coalition forces against ISIS. It doesn’t include numbers of victims on the hands of other fighting brigades.
  2. These figures are not final in any way, and they are subject to continuous and periodic scrutiny by center’s activists, the data base administrators and the field documentation team.
  3. Figures may differ between reports, even within the same district, and this can be referred to the territorial audit that would reveal places of errors and faults, as well as the continuous follow up to identify undistinguished martyrs whenever they are identified.

 

Victims of the Week:

During this period, the Violations Documentation Center in Syria managed to document (401) victims in all the Syrian governorates, (331) of whom were documented by names, while (84) i.e.(20 % ) of the total number, were unidentified bodies because they had turned into carnages.
Two of them documented by photo and (40) of them documented by video and (42) were documented only by witnessing.

First: the Distribution of victims according to Governorates

Homs governorate witnessed the fall of the largest number of victims, as the total number was (90 victims) i.e. (22.5 %), followed by Damascus Suburbs (59 victims) i.e. (15 %), then Hama (53 victims) followed by Idlib (48 victims).

 

Second: the Distribution of victims according to Death Causes

(88) Victims i.e. (22 %) died as a result of fire shots and sniper bullets, whereas (179) of them i.e. (45 %) died because of air shelling and barrel bombs. Moreover, (62) victims i.e. (16 %) killed because of artillery shelling and mortar shelling.

VDC has also documented (53) detainees under torture in detention centers around Syria and (2) person due to starvation and siege by regime forces, in addition to one fighter due to chemical weapons in Harasta city at Damascus Suburbs in 25-10-2014.

Third: the Distribution of victims according to the Days of the Week

Wednesday 29th October 2014 witnessed the fall of the largest number of victims, when (100) of them fell i.e. (25 %) of the total number. After that, Saturday 25 October 2014 witnessed the fall of (74) martyrs i.e. (18.5 %) then Sunday 26 October 2014 witnessed the fall of (56) victims.

Fourth: the Distribution of victims according to Gender:

The number of male adult martyrs is (318 victims), i.e. (79 %) of the total number, the number of male children is (38 children), i.e. (10 %), the number of adult females is (24 victims), i.e. (6 %), the number of female children is (21 victims) i.e. (5 %).

Fifth: the Distribution of victims according to the Category (Civilian/ Non-civilian)

(287) civilian victims were reported i.e. (72 %) of the total number of victims, while only (114) fighters fell i.e. (28% (.

Sixth: Other

During this period Violations Documentation Center has documented more than (19) victims at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS/Daash) including (12) civilians, and (7) fighters of the Free Syrian Army and other fighting factions.

——————————————————————-
لأية ملاحظات أو أسئلة يمكن التواصل معنا عبر بريدنا الالكتروني
editor@vdc-sy.info

للاطلاع على تقاريرنا السابقة باللغة العربية
http://www.vdc-sy.org/index.php/ar/reports

للاطلاع على تقاريرنا السابقة باللغة الإنكليزية
http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/reports/

Russia Renews Support for Assad Regime

By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Impunity Watch, Managing Editor

DAMASCUS, Syria – Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem the resort town of Sochi for talks on Wednesday, the Kremlin said. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin and Moualem were discussing “bilateral relations.” He declined any further comment. Moualem was also expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Moscow has supported the Assad regime throughout the Syrian Civil War, supplying the regime with arms and other supplies.

A Syrian government helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on a camp occupied by displaced civilians last month in the country’s northern region. (Courtesy of Al Jazeera)

Moualem’s two-day visit to Russiamay be a sign that Russia is attempting to renew ties with the Assad regime in an effort by Putin’s Russia to restart peace talks aimed at seeking an end to the Syrian Civil War. Peace talks held in Geneva collapsed earlier this year. However, Western analysts and diplomats say the renewed push by the Putin Government is unlikely to be fruitful because of splits between world powers of the fate of the Assad regime, which many accuse of committing several war crimes including widespread and systematic abuses of human rights which include indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations.

Last month Syrian government helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on a camp filled with civilians displaced by fighting in the country’s northern region. The attack reportedly killed at least 40 people at the camp near al-Habeet in the northern province of Idlib on October 29th. According to an activists, the majority of the people killed in the attack were and no presence of armed groups was reported in the vicinity of the camp. Footage of the attack was uploaded to YouTube, in the video a voice can be heard saying “it’s a massacre of refugees.” He said “Let the whole world see this, they are displaced people. Look at them, they are civilians, displaced civilians. They fled the bombardment.” According to the United Nations, Nearly 10 million people have been displaced in Syria since the start of the country’s Civil War in 2011. An estimated 3 million refugees have fled the country and the conflict has killed close to 200,000 people.

Barrel bombs are crudely made bombs made of barrels or other containers filled with nails, metal shrapnel and explosive which are often dropped from helicopters. The bombs are extremely indiscriminate and are often used to attack civilian populations in areas that are believed to support rebels fighting the Assad regime as a form of collective punishment. The Assad has continued using barrel bombs in civilian areas despite a UN resolution banning their use.

For more information please see:

The Jerusalem Post – Russia’s Putin Holds Talks with Syrian Foreign Minister – 26 November 2014

Reuters – Russia’s New Push for Syria Dialogue Unlikely To Be Fruitful – 26 November 2014

Al Jazeera – Many Killed In Syria Barrel Bomb ‘Massacre’ – 26 October 2014

The Guardian – Barrel Bombs Hit Syrian Refugee Camp, Say Residents – 26 October 2014

 

Racially Charged Protests Erupt In Ferguson After Grand Jury Decides Not To Indict

By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America – The St. Louis area braced for more protests on Tuesday after a grand jury found that probable cause did not exist to bring criminal charges against a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed African-American teenager, three months ago in Ferguson, Missouri. The St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, announced the decision by the grand jury Monday night. McCulloch said that Officer Wilson could have been indicted on charges ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.

Ferguson erupted in protests after grand jury found no probable cause to indict officer responsible for Michael Brown shooting.

Activist leaders spent weeks training protestors in non-violent civil disobedience. However, when word of the grand jury’s decision set off a wave of anger and protests with hundreds of citizens gathering outside the Ferguson Police Department. Approximately a dozen buildings burned and police fired tear gas and flash-bang canisters at protestors. Demonstrators chanted and threw objects at police officers, which were dressed in riot gear and stood in a line. Throughout the night the situation intensified as protests blocked traffic on Interstate 44 where police shot another man earlier this fall.

The rioting started despite calls for calm from government officials ranging from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to President Barack Obama. The police in Ferguson ended up making at least 61 arrests on charges ranging from unlawful assembly to unlawful possession of a firearm and arson.

News about he grand jury’s decision spread nationwide with smaller spontaneous rallies in support of Brown’s family occurring throughout the country. Although no serious injuries were reported from any of the protests, the rioting was said to be much worse than the disturbances that erupted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown.

 

For more information, please see the following:

CNN – Streets of Ferguson Smolder After Grand Jury Decides Not to Indict Officer – 25 Nov. 2014.

NEW YORK TIMES – Protests Flare After Ferguson Police Officer is Not Indicted – 24 Nov. 2014.

REUTERS – St. Louis suburb Smolders After Racially Charged Riots – 25 Nov. 2014.

TORONTO SUN – Ferguson Erupts After Officer Not Charged in Teen’s Shooting – 24. Nov. 2014.

Southern Europe Still Struggles with How to Handle Syrian Refugees

By Kyle Herda

Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

ATHENS, Greece – Over 200 Syrian refugees in Greece have had enough of the lack of rights given to refugees, and so a hunger strike has begun in the capital. Overcrowding of refugees in Greece, as well as in other nations, has led to decreases in space and care for refugees, leading many of them to struggle in Europe.

Syrian refugees in Athens take part in a hunger strike, demanding more aid and benefits to Syrian refugees coming into Greece. (Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)

The number of Syrian refugees has recently skyrocketed in Greece. In 2013, Greece saw 8,500 Syrian refugees, while just 10 months into 2014 there has already been around 29,000 refugees from Syria. Overall, roughly 165,000 Syrian refugees have come into Europe since the start of the Syrian war.

An EU regulation, “Dublin II”, requires refugees to apply for asylum in the EU country they first “step foot in”. This prevents Syrian refugees from applying for asylum in harder to reach countries like Germany that would grant more rights along with asylum. Instead, the refugees must settle for nations like Greece, Albania, or Bulgaria that offer less rights to refugees.

The issue is certainly pressing as more and more Syrian refugees attempt to make their way into southern Europe. One such country that has seen its fair share of refugees is Italy, which began rescuing refugees stranded in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this year after one tragedy led Pope Francis to ask Italy to intervene. These sea missions are still very recent, with another 270 Syrian refugees being rescued today off the North Cypriot coast. The High Refugee Commission has stated that over 2,500 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea already this year while trying to cross into Europe.

Another big problem facing the Syrian refugees in Europe is the lack of jobs in the easier to reach countries like Greece. The economies in these nations are struggling even with their own citizens, and their own citizens seem to be taking priority in the eyes of locals and the governments. So Syrian refugees are left with a tough decision: apply for asylum in the first nation they can make it to and try to make due with the little out there and the few rights given, or attempt to make it to a country like Germany that has more to offer, but risk the consequences of getting caught along the way by another nation, like Albania, that has shot at Syrian refugees trying to cross the border.

For more information, please see:

The Wall Street Journal – Syrian Refugees in Greece Launch Hunger Strike for Asylum, Aid – 24 November 2014

Irish Times – Syrian refugees seek fresh start from Greek destitution – 24 November 2014

Middle East Monitor – 270 Syrian refugees rescued off North Cypriot coast – 24 November 2014

Global Post – For Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe, Bulgaria isn’t enough – 18 November 2014

BBC – Syria’s refugees yearning for the lost ‘old life’ – 17 November 2014

Bangladesh: Continuous Death Sentences for Islamist Leaders for War Crimes

By Hojin Choi

Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

DHAKA, Bangladesh – A controversial war crimes court in Bangladesh upheld its rigorous rulings on the nation’s war crimes cases originating from the country’s 1971 breakaway from Pakistan. The court was set up as a special war crimes tribunal in 2010 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s regime. Within the last few weeks, three Islamist Party leaders were sentenced to death.

The top leader of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist Party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was sentenced to death last month, and few days later another high official of the party Mir Quasem Ali was sentenced to death. In early November, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, the Assistant Secretary-General of the party, was sentenced to death for conviction of genocide and torture of civilians in 1971.

The incident at issue in 1971 was a civil war that the West and East Pakistan armies fought for the autonomy and independence of East Pakistanis. East Pakistan became the independent country of Bangladesh in December 1971. During the nine months of civil war, over 10 million people fled to a neighboring country, India. According to the government, three million people died and 200,000 women were raped during the incident.

Since 2010, the court has convicted 12 people for the war crimes. Most of them were senior officials of the Islamist Party. Last year, Bangladesh people in support of the party had massive protests where tens of thousands protesters clashed with police. Reportedly, over 500 people died in the protests. The recent convictions of party leaders seem to be bringing more social unrest. After the decisions, party supporters called a nationwide strike. No violence or casualties were yet seen, but many schools and businesses closed with worry of possible dangers.

Mir Quashem Ali after being sentenced to death (AP)

According to an Al Jazeera, “under Bangladesh jail code, the execution of an accused could be carried out within 21 days and before 28 days of the Supreme Court’s latest upholding of a death sentence.” Defendants’ review petitions only “buy a little more time, or hope for presidential clemency, which is unlikely to be granted under the present government.” The government argues that it should keep running the tribunal to rebuild social justice systems in Bangladesh by punishing the war criminals, but people, especially party supporters, suspect that the government is using the power to oppress the opposition party.

Human rights groups also called for attention to the continuous death sentences in Bangladesh. Human Rights Watch showed deep concern regarding the use of the death penalty and its quick process. According to the organization’s report, Kamaruzzamn was transferred to Dhaka Central Jail, which is a signal of his impending execution, even though he has not received the full text of the final verdict, which is necessary to file a petition for review. The group also argued that several cases, including the most recent cases, did not meet the fair trial standards because they did not fully grant defendants’ rights. It also pointed out that the past executions of the death penalty, such as hanging, after alleged unfair trials were against international law.

Brad Adams, the Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, said that “Human Rights Watch has long supported justice and accountability for the horrific crimes that occurred in 1971, but we have also stated repeatedly that these trials must meet international fair trial standards in order to properly deliver on those promises for the victims.” Adams added that “delivering justice requires adhering to the highest standards, particularly when a life is at stake. The death penalty is irreversible and cruel, and Bangladesh needs to get rid of it once and for all.”

For more information please see:

ALJAZEERA – Bangladesh party official faces death penalty – 3 November 2014

BBC – Death for Bangladesh Islamist leader Mir Quasem Ali – 2 November 2014

The Guardian – Islamist party member in Bangladesh sentenced to death for 1971 war crimes – 2 November 2014

Human Rights Watch – Bangladesh: Halt Execution of War Crimes Accused – 9 November 2014

 

 

50 Arrested in Pakistan for Lynching and Killing a Christian Couple

Hojin Choi

Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Fifty Pakistani people were arrested for torturing and killing a Christian couple last week in the Punjab province, where religious conflicts have recently intensified, according to local police.

Before the murder, the Christian couple was accused of desecrating the Quran, and a local mullah announced that the couple was guilty of blasphemy. Allegedly, burned pages of the Quran had been found in trash of the couple’s house. A man who had financial conflicts with the couple accused them of blasphemy when the couple refused to pay back some money they owed to him.

The police reported that hundreds of people marched to the couple’s house, some of them broke the door and beat them hard after dragging them out of their home. Then, the crowd threw the couple into brick kiln. When police arrived, they were already burned to death. The local police chief, Jawad Qamar, said that “their bodies were totally burned.” He added that 48 people were arrested, while at least 460 were under investigation for criminal charges.

Relatives of the victims (EPA)

Police later identified the burned bodies as Shahzad Masih and Shama Masih, who had four children. They were in their mid-20s. The province’s chief minister says that their remaining family members will receive for compensation about $49,000 in U.S. dollars.

In Pakistan, a person charged with blasphemy can receive, at maximum, the death penalty. The law is problematic since it does not specifically and clearly define what words or behaviors will violate the law. Rather, the law is often used to oppress minority religions in Pakistan. About 4% of people in Pakistan are Christians, and Sunni Muslim militants often target them for terror attacks, such as bombing. Moreover, according to human rights groups, the controversial law is often used for personal revenge or hatred since the accused will be targeted by mob violence. The religious minorities in Pakistan have long been complaining about the government’s failure to protect them.

Whenever victims of the blasphemy law appear in Pakistan, the incidents have called for the world’s attention. Recently, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, was sentenced to death, and human rights activists of the world have been requesting her release. Pakistani government officials who tried to save her were assassinated by people in support of maintaining the blasphemy law. In 2013, a Pakistani Taliban splinter group allegedly attacked a Christian church in Pakistan where 85 people died by the attack.

For more information please see:

CNN – 50 arrested in slaying of Christian Pakistani couple 6 November 2014

New York Times – Pakistani Christian Couple Are Tortured and Burned to Death by Angry Mob – 4 November 2014

The Guardian – Pakistan arrests dozens over Christian lynchings – 5 November 2014

ALJAZEERA – Taliban splinter group claims Pakistan-India border attack – 3 November 2014