Thirty or so North Korean refugees in China facing the serious threat of persecution and even death back in their home country, have been granted temporary relief due to South Korea's National Assembly adopting on Monday a resolution urging China to refrain from sending them back.
The measure, backed by 154 lawmakers, calls on China to follow international laws on repatriation of the North Korean refugees, who are facing harsh punishments and even execution upon return to their home country, RTTNews revealed. The resolution urged the U.N. and other global institutions to pressure China into adhering to these laws, which prohibit forcible repatriation, either directly or indirectly, of any individuals to a country where they face the risk of persecution, torture or death.
Around 30 or so North Koreans were arrested by Chinese police on Feb. 8 in the city of Shenyang, and are now being held in the north-eastern city of Changchun for entering the country illegally while on their way to South Korea. China considers them economic migrants rather than asylum seekers, which it is using as grounds to try and send them back. more >>
Getting involved in solving social ills should be an essential part of the Christian community, not an optional extra. That was the resounding message heard by 4,000 people at the Justice Conference this past weekend.
The second annual Justice Conference, a two–day event to promote dialogue about issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS and human rights was held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore. Speakers including an all-star lineup of leaders fighting for social causes were joined by representatives of 100 organizations to challenge attendees to integrate action into their faith, event organizers said.
Don Golden, who works at World Relief, which was a co-sponsor of the Justice Conference, told The Christian Post the event was about more than just bringing about awareness to today's problems. more >>
The Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabaab has increasingly targeted children for guerilla recruitment, forced marriage and rape, and attacked teachers and parents who tried to protect them, Human Rights Watch said in its latest report.
Young people under18 have suffered disproportionately from the ongoing conflict in Somalia, the advocacy group reported in "No Place for Children: Child Recruitment, Forced Marriage, and Attacks on Schools in Somalia," published last week.
The country has been torn by violence for years. Fighting between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and TFG-aligned militias on one hand and al-Shabaab, the Islamist armed group that now controls much of the country, on the other, intensified in the capital, Mogadishu, and other parts of south-central Somalia in mid-2010 and early 2011, according to the report. more >>
A new wave of reinforcements have amassed outside Homs, a major rebel stronghold in Syria, possibly foreshadowing a new round of violence between President Bashar al-Assad's military and opposition forces.
Syrian rebels have declared Homs "Syria's Misrata," after a Libyan city where rebels repelled government forces during that country's rebellion. Assad's regime has been desperate to retake control of Syria's third largest city after weeks of launching mortars upon rebels. Over 200 people died last month, with at least nine more dying on Monday.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is trying to negotiate a cease-fire between government forces and the rebels in order to bring aid to injured civilians. "The ICRC is exploring several possibilities for delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid. These include a cessation of fighting in the most affected areas to facilitate swift Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC access to the people in need," said ICRC spokeswoman Carla Haddad. more >>
Five U.S. Congressmen have sent a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee on behalf of a Coptic Christian ministry leader whose work caring for the city's poorest citizens in the slums of Cairo has brought her worldwide acclaim.
Congressmen Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Joseph Pitts (R-Penn.), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and John Carter (R-Texas) sent the letter on behalf of Maggie Gobran, also known as "Mama Maggie." Gobran is often referred to as a current "Mother Teresa."
"Ms. Gobran is a woman of the utmost integrity and her tireless work has served thousands of Egyptian, including countless children," the letter reads. "It is through her deep religious and moral commitment that Mama Maggie has succeeded in creating an organization that serves the poor, desperate, and vulnerable population of Egypt." more >>
Chinese officials reportedly denied a visa to the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom just days before a visit from Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to Washington. However, it emerged Wednesday that the White House addressed the issue during Xi's visit.
"The Chinese noted that Ambassador Cook's predecessors, as well as the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, have visited China on numerous occasions for discussion on religious freedom and related issues, and they are working on dates for Ambassador Cook's future visit," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reportedly said.
Previously, in a statement released by the White House, Carney said he had no information on the topic: more >>