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News in Brief: 03 June 2013

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News in Brief: 03 June 2013

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News in Brief: 03 June 2013

Country/Region: South and East Asia, India, Indonesia, Vietnam

India: Christian father and son beaten in attack on prayer meeting

A Christian man and his son were severely beaten in an attack on a house-church prayer meeting.

The gathering at the home of Gyaneshwar Kurwade in Sarfabad village, Amravati district, Maharashtra state, was disrupted by two assailants on 23 May. They beat him and his son Shrikrishna.

The matter was reported to the police the following day, but they failed to register a case at that time. 

Indonesia: President accepts controversial religious freedom award despite criticism

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has accepted an award for advancing religious freedom despite protests from Christians and other abused religious minority groups.

He received the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s World Statesman Award in New York on 30 May.

Two online petitions against the president being given the accolade attracted more than 10,000 signatures. He acknowledged the criticism of his record on protecting minority groups and promoting inter-religious tolerance, saying, “We need to work harder and more effective to improve it.” 

President Yudhoyono insisted, “We will always protect our minorities and ensure that no-one suffers from discrimination.”

Vietnam: Eight from unregistered church jailed for “undermining national unity”

Eight people from a predominantly Christian ethnic minority group in the Central Highlands have been sentenced to between three and 11 years for “undermining national unity”.

Some of them were accused of working with a banned, exiled organisation to establish an independent state for indigenous peoples, who are heavily persecuted in Vietnam. Such charges are often used by the Communist government as a pretext to suppress religious freedom and other rights.  

The accused belong to an unregistered church, which the authorities consider a threat, and had been campaigning for their group’s rights to be upheld.

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