President Barack Obama has promised a Cuban priest that he will defend human rights despite restoring diplomatic relation with Cuba late last year. Obama reportedly spoke with the priest at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami, where the president stopped to pray and light a candle to Cuba's patroness, the Virgin Mary.
"The topic of freedom for Cuba and human rights will always be on the negotiating table with [Cuban President] Raul Castro," Obama told Father Juan Rumin Dominguez in an unexpected visit last week, according to Catholic News Service.
Dominguez was able to speak with Obama in detail about the plight of Cubans in exile, many who have come to the United States seeking refuge. more >>
Malaysian authorities have begun exhuming the jungle graves of 139 trafficked migrant captives, who were buried in various human trafficking detention camps along a 30-mile stretch of the Malaysia-Thailand border, where it is believed they were tortured and kept in cages.
Malaysian Deputy Home Minister, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, told reporters on Thursday that 12 police officials have been arrested for alleged involvement in human trafficking, while two of the officers were directly linked to recently discovered graves.
After it was reported earlier this week that the 139 discovered graves contained multiple bodies, Jaafar asserted that the graves only contained one body per grave. more >>
Human rights activist Pervez Rafique, who's also a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, said it will be hard to change Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which he said are upheld by an Islamic government that has "strong relations" with Muslim extremists.
Such blasphemy laws are often used to persecute minorities, and Christians in the country have been facing a growing wave of violence, with a Protestant church destroyed and six Christians beaten by armed men in Chakwal in Punjab in an incident on Thursday.
Rafique told The Christian Post in an email interview on Thursday that those presently in power in Pakistan are known for having a "pro Taliban, pro Islamic ideology" and said that they have "strong relations with Muslim extremist organizations." more >>
A Kurdish official has claimed that Islamic State militants have burned an 80-year-old Christian woman alive because she refused to cooperate with the caliphate's strict brand of Shariah law.
Sa'ed Mamuzini, a representative of the Kurdish Democratic Party's office in Mosul, told the Kurdish news organization BasNews on Tuesday that ISIS militants set the unnamed woman on fire in an Assyrian village about 12 miles southeast of Mosul.
Mamuzini explained that he was told of the incident by villagers who witnessed the torturous act. The villagers told Mamuzini that "the woman was killed for failing to comply with the strict laws of the Islamic State." more >>
According to a Kurdish activist who works closely with Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State, ISIS militants allegedly forced a 17-year-old Yazidi girl to recite parts of the Quran while she was being raped. And when she refused, she was punished by having boiling water poured on her.
Twenty-three-year-old Delal Sindy, who is from Sweden, has been working as a humanitarian worker in the Kurdish-protected northern Iraq since October 2014. In a Monday Facebook post that has been shared over 13,000 times, Sindy shared the tragic story of one recently escaped Yazidi refugee girl she met named Suzan, who is now 17, and pregnant after being subjected to ISIS' brutal sexual slavery.
According to Sindy's post, Suzan, her 10-year-old sister and mother were originally taken captive by ISIS and transported to a hotel in Mosul called "The Galaxy," which is essentially a sex slave market filled with half-naked women and girls. The last day Suzan and her sister saw their mother was the day they were sold out of the hotel and shipped to Raqqa, Syria. more >>
Boko Haram has killed dozens of people, including many Christians, in a slew of separate attacks carried out in raids on villages in Nigeria in the past week. The U.N. has said that the Islamic terror group continues forcing women and young girls to carry out its suicide bombings.
Morning Star News reported that Boko Haram's raids in Adamawa state have killed at least 29 people, most of whom are believed to have been Christians. Last week the jihadists hacked to death 10 Christains with machetes in Pambula-Kwamda, a Christian community in Adamawa's Madagali Local government Area.
"They destroyed the telephone mast first before invading our community — this was to prevent us from telephoning and requesting help," said one pastor from the community who did not wish to be named. more >>