December 2010

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement
Liu Xiaobo
On Christmas Day last year, the author was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a court in China for subverting state power as a co-author of Charter 08 that called for political reform in the country a year earlier. On Dec. 10 this year, the author was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for his efforts to promote human rights and a democratic political system in China. This statement, written on the day of his trial on Dec. 23, 2009, was read by Norwegian actress Liv Ullman during the ceremony to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo while he remained in a prison in northeast China. An empty chair signified his “presence” at the ceremony in Norway. [Read more]

Indonesia: Local Sharia Laws Violate Rights in Aceh
Human Rights Watch
Sharia laws on “seclusion” and public dress impinge on the rights of people in Aceh, especially women, explains this international human rights organization in a new report. [Read more]

The Infliction of the Blasphemy Law in Pakistan
Naeem Shakir
The author, a lawyer who practices before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, explains how a law enacted under the rule of a military dictator more than 20 years ago still is wielded as a legal weapon against the country’s religious minorities. [Read more].

  Philippines: Morong 43 Case Exposes a Prosecution System Directly under Political Control
Asian Human Rights Commission
The beginning of the end of the ordeal of the Morong 43, a group of 43 doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers who were illegally arrested and detained in February 2010 (see the March 2010 issue of faith and peace), began with the announcement on Dec. 10 by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s announcement to withdraw the charges. While this is a welcome development, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) explains how this case illustrates the weaknesses of the legal system in the country that impinge on people’s rights. [Read more]

Protecting Our Christian Neighbors in Iraq
Ahmed K. Fahad
Recent attacks against a religious minority in Iraq have brought Muslims and Christians closer together—perhaps the opposite intended reaction by those attracted to the use of violence. [Read more]