With the pandemic taking a toll on everyone’s life, people have their hopes high on religious beliefs. But, things have changed drastically in some major parts of the world. Various governments, globally, are pressurizing religious rights violations, especially on minorities.
India and its worst religious right saw so far:
Unfortunately, in some third-world countries like India, religious freedoms had sharply deteriorated when the government allowed major campaigns of violence and harassments against Muslims and some of the other religious minorities.
India has been designated to be that country with particular concern, which has been tolerating some major violations of proper religious freedoms. The most startling one was Indian’s passage of citizenship amendment act, which are fast-tracking newcomer citizenships who will belong to six religious but have been excluding Muslims from the list.
This simple step exposed Muslims in millions to deportation, statelessness, and detention when the government completed its plan for a national, nationwide register. This is not the first time you can see the worst religious right violation in this country. It was seen previously in 2002 and 2004 as well. The news relating to the Hindu nationalist government and his treatment towards religious minorities, mainly Christians and Muslims, came to limelight.
Other countries facing some worst religious right violations too:
As per the 2020 Annual Report, there are various other countries apart from India that faced religious rights violations this year and noted to be countries of particular concern. Those countries are Iran, China, Nigeria, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Vietnam, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Syria.
Even the report stated that Algeria, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Sudan, Nicaragua, and Uzbekistan would be placed on the “Special Watch List” from the State Department. However, Uzbekistan and Sudan had made some positive improvements through some tentative steps regarding religious freedom. In other countries, things have been towards a downfall.
The issue with the French Government:
Recently on 21st June, The French Government issued a decree, which portrayed the fragile commitment to any form of religious freedom. This decree ended up activating the “Phase III” of the de-confinement. It will allow the opening and relaxation of some restrictions for the gastronomy sector and extend these rules to other venues.
There has been one glaring exception to such rule relaxation when the government was silent about the possible relaxation of rules relevant to religious gatherings, even when many religious groups appealed. They do not cover worship groups, religious services, Bible study, celebrations, and even prayer groups.
They are still forced to follow “II” de-confinement measures based on the French Government’s decree on 31st March 2020. The religious centers have the right to open their doors, but they must also follow measures of social distancing of a minimum of 1 meter between every person.
Group gathering in the smaller building is extremely limited. Prayer groups or bible study in public spaces are also restricted to just ten people.
COVID 19 response is harming Vietnamese religious minorities:
Vietnam has indeed handled the pandemic spread out most heroically. With just over 300 cases and no deaths reported, other countries aspire to follow the means the Vietnamese government followed to keep the COVID pandemic under control.
However, this apparent success is mainly crafted on extensive surveillance systems and control, which only a few other countries want. The censorship has now reached unprecedented levels. The most marginalized ones are bearing the brunt of such abusive policies.
For combating coronavirus, the government has doubled down the repression of religious and ethnic minorities. These communities have everyone from young families to children, and they are in deeper danger related to financial ruins.
For decades now, the Vietnamese government has mistreated various religious and ethnic minorities, such as Khmer Krom Buddhists, Cao Dai, Duong Van Minh Sect members, protestant Hmong, and so much more.
The current scenario of the Montagnard and Hmong communities will exemplify how this current oppressive system works. These members are denied having the basic residency documents and citizenship identification as they belong to those churches that are not government approved. These documents are mandatory for necessary legal actions.
The final say:
These are a few of the many worst religious rights violations taking place globally in 2020. Things might go downhill from here, too, if proper measures are not taken on time.