MINELRES: F18News Summary: Belarus; Eastern Europe; Turkmenistan; Xinjiang

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Sep 16 13:53:34 2004


Original sender: Forum 18 <f18-news-server@forum18.org>


FORUM 18 NEWS SERVICE, Oslo, Norway
http://www.forum18.org/

The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one's belief or religion
The right to join together and express one's belief

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7 September 2004
BELARUS: WAS BAPTIST FINE AN "EXCEPTION"?
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=405
Although unregistered religious communities still face intermittent
fines for religious activities, Protestants in Belarus have told Forum
18 News Service that a fine imposed in January on Baptist Union member
Yuri Denishchik for holding a religious meeting in a private home was an
"exception". They say that ahead of October's parliamentary elections,
the authorities are not currently interfering in services, open-air
evangelistic meetings and youth camps held by registered Protestant
communities. "There are a lot of active Protestants in Belarus and
President Lukashenko can't afford to alienate them right now," one
source told Forum 18. He assumed there to be "some kind of instruction
not to touch Protestants at the moment". But senior Baptist pastor
Gennadi Brutsky told Forum 18 that problems persist, though so far they
have been solved through compromises.


9 September 2004
EASTERN EUROPE: OSCE CONFERENCE ON DISCRIMINATION - A REGIONAL SURVEY
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=407
Ahead of the OSCE Conference on Tolerance and the Fight against Racism,
Xenophobia and Discrimination on 13-14 September 2004 in Brussels, Forum
18 News Service http://www.forum18.org surveys some of the more serious
discriminatory actions against religious believers that persist in some
countries of the 55-member OSCE. Despite their binding OSCE commitments
to religious freedom, in some OSCE member states believers are still
fined, imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their faith, religious
services are broken up, places of worship confiscated and even
destroyed, religious literature censored and religious communities
denied registration. Forum 18 believes most of the serious problems
affecting religious believers in the eastern half of the OSCE region
come from government discrimination.


10 September 2004
TURKMENISTAN: BAPTISTS RAIDED AND JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REJECT
PRESIDENTIAL PORTRAITS
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=408
In the third known set of raids on religious communities in August,
police interrogated and threatened members of a Baptist church in the
western town of Balkanabad, warning Nikolai Matsenko that any further
unregistered services in his home will lead to fines. Meanwhile a
Jehovah's Witness elder told Forum 18 News Service from the capital
Ashgabad that if his faith gets registration, it will reject official
demands made of other faiths to hang the country's flag and a portrait
of the president where it worships. "These are unacceptable demands," he
declared. Forum 18 has been unable to get confirmation of a 5 September
report that President Saparmurat Niyazov ordered the registration
procedure for religious organisations to be tightened up once more.


9 September 2004
XINJIANG: SECURITY SERVICE INVESTIGATION FOLLOWED ORTHODOX PRIEST'S
DEPORTATION
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=406
Kazakhstan-based Russian Orthodox priest Fr Viarion Ivanov had visited
China's north-western Xinjiang region to serve the local Orthodox who
have no priests, but in December 2003 was detained by Chinese customs,
was interrogated for a week, had his religious literature confiscated
and was deported. "They questioned me for five hours a day. The special
services representatives proved to be amazingly well-informed," Fr
Ivanov told Forum 18 News Service. Local Orthodox told Forum 18 in
Xinjiang in early September that virtually all the Orthodox believers in
the city of Ghulja were questioned by the security services about Fr
Ivanov's activity. In Ghulja the Orthodox can at least meet for prayers
in church without a priest, but in another Xinjiang town, Tacheng, local
Russian Orthodox have had no success so far in applying to rebuild their
church.


9 September 2004
EASTERN EUROPE: OSCE CONFERENCE ON DISCRIMINATION - A REGIONAL SURVEY

http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=407
By Felix Corley, Editor, Forum 18 News Service

.............

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