The Nigerian armed forces have fought back against the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, killing 13 suspected combatants in an attack on their stronghold in the town of Maiduguri on Tuesday.
The news was confirmed by the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order, who said that they lost one soldier in the gunfight, CNN reported. Military spokesman Sagir Musa said that that Boko Haram have been carrying out "incessant callous, brutal, barbaric and impious killings," and Human Rights Watch estimate that the Islamic group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," have killed more than 2,800 people in the last several years, including at least 34 since Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, raids on two separate churches resulted in the deaths of 12 worshippers, including a pastor. Another 15 Christians were massacred six days later on Sunday at another church in Northern Nigeria. more >>
Orphans in Russia will no longer be able to find parents willing to adopt them in the United States once a new law that President Vladimir Putin says he will sign goes into effect.
Russian orphans will become the casualties in a dispute unrelated to adoption. The new law banning adoptions is part of a larger bill that the Russian government is implementing in response to the Magnitsky Act.
The Magnitsky Act, signed by President Barack Obama on Dec. 14, places U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia. The act is named after Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered Russian corruption and was beaten to death in a Russian prison in 2009. more >>
The founder of an international group of advocates for the equality and rights of Coptic Christians is appealing to the leaders of democratic nations to cut any ties with Egypt. The Voice of the Copts is attempting to thwart President Mohamed Morsi's regime from implementing a primarily Islamic-based constitution.
"We demand that world leaders withdraw their recognition of Egypt's phony 'pro-democracy' leader, Mr. Morsi, who is backed by the illegal Muslim Brotherhood party," states Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, president of Voice of the Copts, in an open letter sent Monday. "Freeze your political relationships with Egypt, halt all investments and aid to Egypt and force Mr. Morsi's regime to step down. This will facilitate legitimate democratic goals yet to be achieved by Egypt's freedom fighters."
Coptic organizations around the world, including the U.S.-based Egyptian Front for National Salvation and Coptic Solidarity have been issuing similar demands since Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration in which he arrogated to himself sweeping powers, and enabled himself to be shielded from legal challenge through the courts. more >>
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) released a report on Monday analyzing how secular people around the world are treated, and found that seven different countries have laws that make atheism punishable by death.
The report, "Freedom of Thought 2012 – A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, and the Nonreligious," is 72 pages long and details some of the most extreme cases of persecution or discrimination targeting non-believers around the world. IHEU describes its vision as "a Humanist world, in which human rights are respected and everyone is able to live a life of dignity. The mission of IHEU is to build and represent the global Humanist movement that defends human rights and promotes Humanist values world-wide."
Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan are the seven countries identified by the organization where it is possible that people who admit to being atheists could face capital punishment. more >>
A number of organizations are raising international awareness on the debate concerning Uganda's proposed death penalty for homosexuals, and have called on Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren to once again speak out on the issue – which he did on Friday via Twitter.
Conflicting accounts stemming from Uganda have reported on where the African nation stands in its review of an anti-homosexuality bill that has been condemned by many Western countries.
Uganda is one of the only places in the world where engaging in homosexual activity is considered a crime, punishable by fines and jail time, with some government members pushing to make same-sex acts a capital punishment offense. more >>
Blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has recently released a video condemning the Chinese Communist Party's poor human rights record, especially focusing on the country's controversial One-Child Policy.
Additionally, Chen calls on the international community to focus its attention on policing the human rights practices of China in preparation for the upcoming international Human Rights Day 2012, slated to take place on Dec. 10.
"The violence in maintaining China's One-Child Policy still extensively exists. It is a sin, because life is sacred," Chen said in a Dec. 2 video produced and translated by ChinaAid, a New York-based human rights group. more >>