Religion

AFGHANISTAN: ‘The Doha Meeting Has Raised Concerns the UN Is Indirectly Legitimising the Taliban’


 
CIVICUS discusses the exclusion of women from international talks on Afghanistan currently being held in Qatar with Sima Samar, former chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The AIHRC is the Afghan national institution devoted to the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights. Its status is now a matter of contention: on returning to power, the Taliban decreed its dissolution, but the AIHRC refuses to abide by the decision due to the illegitimate nature of the Taliban regime.

IRAQ: ‘Tolerance for Abuses Against LGBTQI+ People Has Now Been Made Explicit Through Legislation’


 
CIVICUS discusses the criminalisation of same-sex relations in Iraq with Sarah Sanbar, researcher at Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.

Stand Up and Speak Out to End Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

For 1,000 days girls in Afghanistan have been banned from secondary school education. We must now stand up and speak out together for the girls and women of Afghanistan with a clarion call to the de facto authorities and world leaders to end the ban on girls’ secondary education in Afghanistan.

Indignity, Disease, Death—The Life of a Sewer Worker in Pakistan

A dark head emerges, followed by the torso. The balding man heaves himself up, hands on the sides of the manhole, as he is helped by two men. Gasping for breath, the man, who seems to be in his late 40s, sits on the edge, wearing just a pair of dark pants, the same color as the putrid swirling water he comes out from.

India’s Election: Cracks Start to Show in Authoritarian Rule

India’s Hindu nationalist strongman Narendra Modi has won his third prime ministerial term. But the result of the country’s April-to-June election fell short of the sweeping triumph that seemed within his grasp. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shed seats compared to the 2019 election, losing its parliamentary majority. Modi remains prime minister thanks to coalition partners. It’s a long way from the 400-seat supermajority Modi proclaimed he wanted – which would have given him power to rewrite the constitution.

UN Security Council’s Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza Welcomed

After nearly six months of a devastating war in Gaza, the UN Security Council has at last adopted a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The resolution calls for the ceasefire to come into effect for the month of Ramadan, demands the unconditional release of all hostages and ensures humanitarian access.

In Pakistan, Death Can Be Just a WhatsApp Share Away

Justice Zafar Yab Chadhar's March 6 order sentencing 22-year-old Junaid Munir to ‘be hanged by his neck till he is dead’ on charges of sharing blasphemous material over WhatsApp was devastating for his family. “The earth moved from underneath my feet,” is how 57-year-old Chaudhry Munir Hussain, Munir’s father, described his feelings as he heard the judge read out the judgment that day in a court in Gujranwala, a city in Punjab province.

International Women’s Day, 2024
In a Fearless Gesture, Woman Police Officer Averts Mob Lynching

Since the start of the year, there has been very little to celebrate for Pakistanis. Disrupted social media, escalating electricity, fuel, and food prices, and newly-held elections mired in controversy. But then, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi, did something that brightened the days of despair. The 31-year-old’s courageous overture and foresight in the face of a potentially explosive situation have given Pakistan a reason to stand among the countries on this year’s Women’s Day with pride.

Greece: Another First for LGBTQI+ Rights

After almost two decades of civil society campaigning, Greece’s parliament has passed a law enabling same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. It’s the first majority-Orthodox Christian country to realise marriage equality.

Imperialism, Globalisation and Its Discontents*

Imperialism continues to dominate the world. Globalisation is losing to some of its anti-theses, but imperialism still rules, increasingly by law, albeit in changing even contradictory ways.

Nuclear Disarmament: A Natural Buddhist-Catholic Alliance, says Japanese Leader

At the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the third floor, a solemn statue of St. Agnes, holding her namesake lamb, stands as a disturbing reminder of nuclear destruction.

Hindu Woman Doctor Confident of Election In Pakistan Polls

A woman medical graduate from the Hindu community is making waves, as she is the first minority woman to contest the Pakistan Parliamentary election for a general seat, and she does so in the face of deep-rooted religious traditions and wealthy political opponents. Dr Saveera Parkash, a nominee of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) for the February 8 polls, is sure of her victory despite her religion.

Iran, Back to the Grim Normal

Iran’s time of public rebellion has ended. The protesters marching, chanting, and dancing under the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ banner have long stopped. And shifting regional dynamics may play to the regime’s favour.

Europe’s Shift to the Far Right and its Impact on Immigration

The recent elections in the Netherlands signals the increasing power of the far right in Europe. The populist party of Geert Wilders, the Party for Freedom, won a decisive, albeit unexpected, victory taking 37 seats out the 150 seat in parliament. Wilders will likely be the head of the next Government. His policies include stopping all immigration into the Netherlands, holding a referendum on leaving the EU, and banning mosques and the Quran.

Sikh Faith Inspires Environmental Stewardship

Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, an accomplished ENT doctor who hails from London, is not just attending COP 28; he is representing an organization that brings a unique perspective to the global stage.

Faith Pavilion Adds Spiritual Dimension to Climate Crisis Resolution

For the first time at COP28, faith has a pavilion alongside science, technology, nations, and philanthropy, allowing religious leaders from all over the world to discuss the potential for using spiritual merits to protect the earth from climate change.

Netherlands Latest Country to Tilt to the Right

The Netherlands is the latest country to lurch to the right amid the global cost of living crisis. Its November election saw maverick far-right populist Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) come first. A hardline Islamophobe who’s called for the Quran to be banned could be the next prime minister.

Kazakhstan’s Interfaith Initiative: Fostering Global Harmony through Wisdom and Leadership

In the heart of Central Asia, a nation renowned for its rich cultural diversity, multi-ethnic society, and spiritual traditions has emerged as a global beacon of interfaith harmony and understanding. Over the past two decades, Kazakhstan’s Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions (The Congress) has played an instrumental role in promoting dialogue, forging unity, and advocating for peace among diverse faiths worldwide. Rooted in Kazakhstan’s deep spiritual heritage and wisdom, this initiative has evolved into a symbol of international cooperation and tolerance. As we reflect on its remarkable journey and look ahead to its future under the leadership of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, it becomes evident that the Congress is poised to make even greater strides toward fostering global harmony and unity.

Religious Leaders Can Help Bring about World Peace

It is not a secret that the world is witnessing rising international tensions and erosion of the global order that has been in place since the establishment of the United Nations. Divisive blocs, which have not been seen since the Cold War, are making a swift return. As a result, our planet is facing severe threats, including a new global arms race, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons, and the proliferation of wars in all formats, including hot, hybrid, cyber, and trade.

Where is India Heading?

Some time ago I watched the Indian blockbuster RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt). It received universal praise for direction, screenwriting, cast performances, soundtrack (which won an Oscar) and thrilling action sequences. RRR is filled with gore; bodies beaten, pierced and torn apart. An overblown combination of Quentin Tarantino and Bollywood, far away from Satyajit Ray’s emotionally moving films, as well as Bollywood’s romantic comedies and mythological dramas. RRR never pauses for breath. The two male protagonists are supermen, not exposing many recognizable human traits, even if they might occasionally sing and talk about love. Hard to understand, since the few women of the story are cut-out clichés.

Barriers to Movement are the Never Ending Normal for Palestinians

Sundus* scans the news before she heads home, checking for signs that her 30-minute commute could turn into a four-hour-long slog. Any incident could make travel difficult. Sometimes Sundus waits for her father to call and tell her if the checkpoints around their home are open. After living in Hebron, a city in the West Bank, for the last 20 years, she is used to planning her day around unpredictability.

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