Date:                  June 2, 2020


USCIRF News Digest - June 2, 2020
Upcoming Events

June 3 – United Nations NGO Committee on FoRB Annual General Meeting, with a panel discussion featuring USCIRF Commissioners and Staff (RSVP)

June 10 – USCIRF Hearing on Safeguarding Religious Freedom in Northeast Syria (RSVP)
Download the 2020 USCIRF Annual Report: Key Findings and Recommendations
Top News from Around the World

Member of the Muslim Unity Movement detained (Turan)
End of Ramadan celebrated in Azerbaijan without mass prayer (JAM News)

Antisemitic incidents increase 9.5% in Austria, according to latest IKG report (EJC)

Migrants trapped in Balkan camps find Ramadan a trial (Balkan Insight)
Serbia and Montenegro’s Strongman Leaders United in Self-Interest (Balkan Insight)

Argentinian court decision brings hope for Rohingya (Anadolu Agency)
Myanmar’s Rakhine State Revokes Order Evicting Squatters From Rohingya Land (RFA)

Popular Pastor from Cameroon Dies of COVID-19 (

House sends Uyghur human rights bill to Trump's desk (CNN)
Tibetan Students, State Workers Barred From Religious Events in Lhasa (RFA)​
Christian watchdog group finds China’s increased control over Hong Kong ‘concerning’ (Christian Post)
Dozens of Chinese companies added to U.S. blacklist in latest Beijing rebuke (Reuters)
Hair Product Industry Linked to Uyghur Forced Labor Booming in Xinjiang’s Lop County (RFA)​
China shut down 48 churches after lifting lockdown (Christian Post)​

Central African Republic
Central African Republic confirms first COVID-19 death (Andalou Agency)
Nine Militia Fighters Arrested in Central African Republic Killings (Defense Post)

Cuba uses the coronavirus crisis to continue to harass, imprison religious leaders (Miami Herald)

Government condemns vandalism at Limassol mosque (In-Cyprus)

Draft Constitution Doesn’t Fully Protect Christian Rights – Gambia Christian Council (Voice Gambia)

Germany launches ‘meet a Jew’ scheme ‘to give Jewish people a face and a voice’ (Jewish News)

Communion unchanged in Greek Orthodox Church despite virus (Associated Press)

Teenage Girl Beheaded by Father in Iran Honor Killing (Iran Human Rights Monitor)

KAZAKHSTAN: Warned for violating coronavirus regulations, but fined for leading worship  (Forum 18)

Rev. Jesse Jacksons Calls for Release of Malian Opposition Leader Soumaila Cisse (Black Star News) 

Serbia and Montenegro’s strongman leaders united in self-interest (Balkan Insight)

Nigerian Bishop Abducted by Gunmen, Christian Organization Urges Officials to Take Action (CBN News)
Nigeria: Scores attend mass Eid prayers despite warning (Andalou Agency)
Kaduna police arrest suspected killers of Kajuru peasants (Vanguard)
Nigerian troops kill 35 Boko Haram militants (New Times)
Senators Ernst and Grassley Ask Trump to Deploy Special Envoy to Nigeria to End Christian Genocide (CBN News)
Gunmen kill dozens in restive northwest Nigeria (Deutsche Welle)
Christians Killed in Kaduna State, Nigeria as Herdsmen Threaten Kidnapped Missionary (Christian Headlines)
Top ISWAP-Boko Haram Fighter Surrenders with Family to MNJTF (PR Nigeria)

Pakistan 'blasphemy' death row couple's plea for freedom (BBC News)

Post-Soviet immigration strengthens Kazakhstan’s Jewish community (Eurasianet)

Ethnic Cleansing of Yazidis and other religious groups in Syria Accelerates (Yazda)

Agricultural lands belonging to Assyrians ‘illegally grabbed by Kurdish family’ in Turkey’s southeast (Duvar)
Police arrest suspect over attack on Armenian church in Istanbul (Ahval)
Greece denounces Turkey for reciting Quran in Hagia Sophia (Ahval)
Turkey reopens some mosques, prayers held in ex-cathedral (Associated Press)
Turkey jails politician over videos of song from mosques (Associated Press)
Hrant Dink Foundation receives death threat (Duvar)
Attacker tears down cross at Armenian church in Istanbul (Hürriyet)
Police chases off Eid crowds by shooting gun in the air during COVID-19 curfew in Adana (Duvar English)
Prosecutors change probe rules to arrest former CHP politician for ‘Bella Ciao posts’ (Duvar English)
Turkish gov’t portal allows citizens to change religion online (Ahval)
Turkish envoy rebukes U.S. senators over ‘biased’ statements on Uighurs (Ahval)
Turkey imposes its broadest yet lockdown for Eid al-Fitr (Al Jazeera)
Antisemitism spread amid coronavirus pandemic in Turkey, group warns (The Jerusalem Post)

Uzbekistan keeps up heat on marginal Islamic groups (Eurasianet)
Uzbekistan to declassify information on prisoners and colonies (

Vietnam’s Widely Praised COVID-19 Response Harms Religious Minorities (RealClear Religion)​

West Africa
Benin and Ivory Coast withdraw declarations from Africa rights court (The East African)

Attacks on Churches, House of Worship Increase Across the Globe: 'These Are Turning into Houses of Horror' (CBN News)

Pandemic and Persecution in the Middle East (ICC)
Covid-19: Vatican urges OSCE to promote religious freedom amid rising intolerance (Herald Malaysia Online)
Eid traditions become ‘very different’ for Muslims in the age of Coronavirus (RFE/RL)
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