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Russia: Registered Clergy May Be Allowed to Meet with Prisoners

(Jan. 6, 2015) On December 9, 2014, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (lower chamber of the legislature) approved on the first reading legislation that amends the country’s Correctional Code to allow prisoners to communicate with members of the clergy. (Bill No. 614607-6, Duma legislative database (Dec. 9, 2014).) If passed, the law will […]

Russia: Religious Orthodox Classes Will Be Taught in Public School Buildings

(Nov. 26, 2014) On November 24, 2014, the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant reported that according to Moscow City Council Member and Chair of the Moscow City Board of Education Nina Minko, the Russian Orthodox Church has been granted the right to use public school buildings when classes are out, without paying rent. (Aleksandr Chernykh & […]

Indonesia: Aceh Province Bans Daytime Food Sales During Ramadan

(July 7, 2014) The Wilayatul Hisbah, or Shariah Police, of Aceh Province, an area of Indonesia that applies Islamic law, have forbidden sales of food during the daytime during the month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. They have applied the rule from 5 am to 3 pm, and to everyone, […]

Malaysia: Highest Court Declines to Overturn Ban on Use of Word “Allah” by Non-Muslims

(June 30, 2014) On June 23, 2014, the Federal Court of Malaysia turned down an appeal to hear a case challenging the country’s prohibition against the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims to refer to God. The ban, which had been overturned by a December 31, 2009, Kuala Lumpur High Court decision after having […]

Burma; United Nations: Experts Oppose Draft Law on Religious Conversion

(June 26, 2014) On June 20, 2014, independent human rights experts from the United Nations asked Burma not to go ahead with a proposed law that would restrict religious conversion in the predominantly Buddhist country. The proposal would make conversions difficult by creating a process of application and approval for those wanting to change faiths. […]

Burma: Law Purporting to Protect Race and Religion Proposed

(Mar. 17, 2014) In response to a petition signed by 1.3 million people, on March 7, 2014, Burmese President Thein Sein called for a new commission to work with the high court to write a law on protection of race and religion. He had forwarded versions of several laws, created by lawyers working with Buddhist […]

Sri Lanka: Call for War Crimes Investigation

(Feb. 27, 2014) On February 24, 2014, Navanetham Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), called for an inquiry into the possibility that the two sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war both committed war crimes. The war, which went on for 25 years, ended in May 2009. (Stephen Adelgren, UN Rights Chief […]