Human Rights Watch revealed that Syrian rebel forces have committed war crimes including the killing of civilians and the targeting of churches, during their attack on the Christian village of Sadad in late October.
According to the testimonies of villagers, the rebel fighters refused to allow them to leave their homes in areas with active fighting, while others said that the fighters used civilians as human shields.
Residents confirmed that opposition fighters also stole the possessions of some residents - looted and vandalized property in at least three local historical churches. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has launched a global petition to urge the United Nations and the world's leaders to step in the Syrian civil war and help the suffering people, many of whom are in Christian communities that have been caught in the crossfire.
"For nearly three years, the people of war-torn Syria have experienced terrible suffering and enormous challenges," Open Doors said in a statement on Thursday. The group is seeking 500,000 signatures.
"In particular, the Christian community, around 8 percent of the population, is paying a high price for living in a country where the civil war has caused over 100,000 deaths and left 4.2 million homeless inside the country." more >>
The family of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran has finally been allowed to visit him in Rajai Shahr Prison, where he was abruptly transferred to earlier this month. But the U.S. citizen is still being denied the medication that he needs.
"Pastor Saeed's situation remains dire. However, we are encouraged that his Iranian family was allowed visitation – and that his Iranian family was able to see him face-to-face and communicate with him. Pastor Saeed, however, has yet to receive the medication he has been prescribed for internal injuries suffered at the hands of his captors," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reported in an update on the pastor's condition on Monday.
The update served as the first physical confirmation of Pastor Saeed's condition and life since he was taken out of Evin Prison earlier this month and transferred to Rajai Shahr. The law group, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., noted that the pastor is being kept inside the violent criminal ward and is sharing a cell with other prisoners. more >>
Patriarch Gregorios Laham III, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem has followed the events in Syria as they pertain to affected Christians. The patriarch has described that deadly shells have fallen on churches, patriarchates, dioceses, houses, property, charities on such a regular basis that they are now convinced that the war in Syria is targeting Christians to terrorize them and push them out of the country.
In an appeal this week, Patriarch Laham expressed regret for not hearing a global condemnation of these cowardly acts except by Pope Francis I, who denounced them strongly and defended the human dignity of the weak.
"These criminal acts threaten the educational process of our children and generations," said the patriarch, who noted that they would call on the Western and Arab worlds' conscience to speak out about this cowardly war. more >>
The rise of religious extremism has pushed religious communities to migrate from Iraq, especially Christians, according to Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldeans in Iraq.
The patriarch called on the Iraqi government to extend security and protection of religious freedoms and ethnic diversity as well as to promote reconciliation and social cohesion between all components.
In his speech recently at a conference held by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in coordination with the United Nations Mission "UNAMI " and the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, and sponsored by Iraqi Parliament Speaker on the International Day for Tolerance, under the title of "Rights of Minorities in Iraq, Reality and Ambition", Patriarch Sako said the reality of the situation in Iraq is still concerning. more >>
Migrant workers set to begin construction work on the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar stadiums are heavily exploited and treated like animals, human rights group Amnesty International revealed.
"It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world, that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive," said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.
"Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers. Many are taking advantage of a permissive environment and lax enforcement of labor protections to exploit construction workers." more >>