Thursday, April 29, 2010

USCIRF Releases Annual RF Report

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today announced its 2010 recommendations to Congress, the White House, and the State Department that 13 nations–Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam–be named “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs.

“Over the past few months USCIRF has visited a number of human rights ‘hot spots’ where freedom of religion is obstructed and related human rights are trampled,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair. “This year’s report offers new and important policy solutions to improve conditions where foreign policy, national security, and international standards for the protection of freedom of religion can and should intersect. The report’s conclusion is clear–the Administration must do more!”

USCIRF’s 2010 Annual Report documents serious abuses of freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief around the world. The report provides policy prescriptions for each nation on the CPC list.

Read the full report here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

China Harvesting Believer's Organs

The Washington Times

China's hidden policy of executing prisoners of the forbidden quasi-Buddhist
group Falun Gong and harvesting their organs for worldwide sale has been
expanded to include Tibetans, "house church" Christians and Muslim Uighurs,
human rights activists said Monday.

In a news conference on Capitol Hill, several speakers, including attorney David
Matas of B'nai Brith Canada and Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for the Defense
of Democracies, said their investigations have unearthed a grisly trade in which
an estimated 9,000 members of Falun Gong have been executed for their corneas,
lungs, livers, kidneys and skins.

They likened the practice to the Nazi treatment of Jewish prisoners in World War
II concentration camps, which included using them for sadistic medical
experiments and taking the gold fillings from the teeth of corpses.

The newest wrinkle, they said, is that organs from other religious prisoners -
specifically dissidents from China's Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist
communities - are also being harvested to satisfy an insatiable global demand.

"These groups are useless to the state," Mr. Gutmann said. "They are toxic, so
you can't release them. But they're worth a great deal of money in terms of
their organs."

Organs from just one person can fetch a total of $100,000 on the worldwide
market, he added.

The charges of organ harvesting and its spread to other religious and ethnic
groups were made by the researchers and activists based on their extensive
interviews with former prisoners and families of prisoners, and based on
analysis of statistics, including health numbers, released by the Chinese

Although the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners has been documented as
early as 1992 by Chinese dissident Harry Wu's Laogai Research Foundation, it was
not until 2006 that the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong publication, accused the
Chinese government of using its adherents for the practice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blasphemy Law Upheld

INDONESIA'S Constitutional Court has rejected a petition by moderate Muslims, minorities and rights groups against a 1965 blasphemy law, in a ruling seen as a test of the country's pluralism.

The court ruled that the law was imperfect but did not contravene the constitution of the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. 'The application has been rejected entirely as the reasons given by the applicants... have no legal basis and are completely unfounded,' chief judge Mahfud MD told the court. 'It's not contrary to the basic articles in the constitution but it needs to be made clearer.'

The law makes it illegal to 'publicise, recommend or organise public support' for any religion other than or different to the orthodox versions of six sanctioned faiths: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Confucianism. It was used in 2008 to force followers of the Islamic Ahmadiyah sect to go underground and is regularly cited by minority groups as a source of discrimination and intimidation.

Rights groups and civil society organisations that value the country's secular traditions say it forces people to adhere to government-sanctioned faiths and limits religious freedom.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

UN Rights Council Propagating Antisemitism

The UN Human Rights Council, together with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has, however unwittingly, helped to propagate an anti-Semitic blood libel by publishing it as an official United Nations document (A/HRC/13/NGO/23), which is now being distributed to country delegates-under the same Agenda Item in which they will soon vote on the Goldstone Report.

We call upon you to immediately cease circulating this racist, hateful and inflammatory text to the ambassadors and other delegates of the Human Rights Council; to gather up and destroy all existing copies; and to remove it from the Human Rights Council website.

The document in question is A/HRC/13/NGO/23, entitled “Israeli Illegal Trafficking in Organs of Dead and Kidnapped Palestinian Victims.” It was submitted by the “International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination,” also known as EAFORD. As shown on its website (, the raison d’etre of this UN-accredited organization is to accuse Israel of being a racist state. (The website also links to a video on U.S. action in Iraq, which it describes as a “Holocaust.”)
The statement begins by accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing and massacres,” creating the “largest open-air prison in the world,” perpetrating “economic genocide,” and having “let loose hordes of marauding gangs of Israeli illegal settlers” in order to “launch pogroms against Palestinians.”

It then proceeds to the principal charge: “Now it is the turn of the dead, kidnapped and killed Palestinians. Their human organs, as reported in the press, can be a source of immense wealth through illegal trafficking in the world market. Israeli physicians, medical centers, rabbis and the Israeli army may be involved, according to reports published in the Swedish press and criminal investigations in the United States.”