» 12/01/2010, 00.00
VATICAN – OSCE
Card Bertone calls for an end to anti-Christian persecution
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe discusses its future and goals today and tomorrow. The Vatican secretary of state complains about the persecution and difficulties 200 million Christians face in the world. Hillary Clinton calls for the protection of press freedom.
Kazakhstan launches into intense diplomatic activity as it begins its stint at the helm of OCSE
The former Soviet republic took over the OCSE presidency on 1 January. Human rights groups criticise the decision because the Central Asian nation does not adequately respect human rights and religious freedom. For its part, Astana wants to focus on former Soviet republics and economic issues.
Kazakh parliament passes law that severely restricts religious freedom
All unauthorised religious activity is banned, even meeting to pray or do charity work. Offenders will be severely punished. OCSE, which had asked for further consultation, expresses its “disappointment”. Representatives of various religious groups express their views and concerns about the law.
President Bakiyev’s re-election flawed and rigged, OSCE says
OSCE monitors blast irregularities during the election campaign, complain about fraud. Opposition takes to the streets but police prevent people from demonstrating.
Religions can play a fundamental role in avoiding any clash of civilisations, says Vatican
In addressing the OSCE annual meeting, the representative of the Holy See calls for a greater commitment to the fight against "prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions". "Sentiments of hatred and vengeance have been inculcated in numerous young people in those parts of the world marked by conflicts".
Draft law to ban religious minorities
The Tajik parliament is discussing a bill which would deny children younger than seven the right to a religious education and ban religious education in the home. Only religious groups with more than 400 members in each of the country’s districts could register, effectively excluding Christians who are just a few thousands.
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