March 22, 2021 (Family Research Council) – A new report from Open Doors, “Same Faith, Different Persecution,” details how religious persecution affects men and women differently. Women are particularly vulnerable to different expressions of persecution than men, including sexual violence.
Per the report, in the 50 countries with the highest level of Christian persecution, forced marriages of women have increased by 16 percent. Stunningly, 90 percent of countries featured in the 2021 World Watch List reported incidents of forced marriage, up six percent from the previous year.
Abduction and forced marriage are a particularly widespread problem in Pakistan’s minority communities. In October 2019, three men waited until Huma Younus’ parents left their home before barging in and taking 14-year-old Huma by force. A few days later, the kidnappers sent Huma’s parents copies of a marriage certificate and documents alleging her conversion to Islam. Huma was forced to live as the wife of one of her abductors, and last summer, her parents learned that she had become pregnant from repeated rape.
To Huma’s parents’ dismay, the Sindh High Court ruled in February 2020 that the marriage was legal based on Islamic law, which says men can marry underage girls if they have had their first menstrual cycle. Today, Huma remains subject to unknown abuses in the home of the man who kidnapped her.
In Pakistan, perpetrators choose Christian and Hindu girls as their victims so they can use the country’s religious tensions to cover up their crimes. When a possible instance of forced conversion occurs, the perpetrator will often tell Muslim members of the community that it is inappropriate to question someone’s conversion to Islam. It can be dangerous for a girl to tell authorities or the courts that she did not truly want to convert to Islam; she may face threats against her safety or her family. Mob rule often affects Pakistan’s justice system and weakens the government’s ability to protect the most vulnerable.
In many of the countries Open Doors studied, marriage documentation is often used to cover up human trafficking rings. The report notes, “Traffickers often attempt to cloak the associated sexual violence behind a claim that the girl is now married, which in reality is often a forced marriage or a marriage resulting from targeted seduction.”
It is no secret that in countries with pronounced religious discrimination, girls from religious minority communities are targeted for human trafficking.
The Communist-run People’s Republic of China is guilty of systematic human rights' abuses which are totally and utterly inconsistent with the spirit of the Olympic Games.
And yet, the 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in Beijjing, starting in only one year's time.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which calls on the International Olympic Committee to take emergency action and relocate the 2022 Winter Olympics away from China for widespread human rights' abuses incompatible with the ethos of the Olympic Games.
Think about the ongoing genocide of the Uighur people who inhabit the North-west corner of China; think of the recent crackdown and arrest of dozens of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong; think of the detention of members of Falun Gong; and, think of the persecution of Christians in China.
This is sickening.
China should be held to account for its manifest human rights' abuses, not lauded on the world stage. The Chinese Communist Party should be shamed, not celebrated.
Right now, the delay of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which were scheduled to begin last summer, provides the perfect opportunity for the IOC to press pause on the Beijing Games, and take emergency action to relocate them away from China.
Not only that, but it could be very strongly argued that sending athletes from around the world to the "breeding ground of Covid-19" and then back home again, makes absolutely no sense from the perspective of protecting public health.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition which calls on the IOC to cancel the 2022 Winter Games in China and relocate them to another country which upholds and defends human rights.
Here are just some of the human rights' abuses which China is guilty of:
GENOCIDE. In a report released on January, 19th of this year, the U.S. State Department found that, at least since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party is guilty of "genocide" against the Uighur population, living in Xinjiang Province. An abbreviated list of lesser crimes committed by the state against this largely-Muslim ethnic group includes:
- Torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained
- Forced labor
- The imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.
CRACKDOWN ON HONG KONG DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS. China's newly-implemented National Security Law (NSL) is being used to enforce a draconian clampdown and arrest of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, who have bravely resisted the Communist Party's efforts to squash the right to vote and the right to run for political office.
PERSECUTION. China has mercilessly persecuted practioners of Falun Gong and Christians of every denomination. Over the last few years, incidents of persecution include:
- Christian churches have been destroyed by authorities.
- Two million Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Falun Gong followers have been held in detention.
- Christian teachings have been reinterpreted according to socialist doctrine.
- Churches in Hunan province were forced to remove displays of the Ten Commandments and replace them with quotes of President Xi Jinping.
These appalling human rights' abuses don't even include the extensive history of forced abortion and sterilization which the Chinese Communists are known to have committed in their ruthless enforcement of their "one-child policy," which only ended in 2015.
Of course, the world's premier amateur athletes should not be punished for the sins of the hosting nation, but neither should they lend their credibility and talent to support a nation which is guilty of so many systematic human rights' abuses.
That's why the IOC has an obligation to act and pull the Olympics out of China; otherwise, the IOC, itself, faces losing all credibility with sports fans around the world.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition which urges the IOC to take emergency action and relocate the 2022 Winter Olympics out of China. Not only will the IOC avoid the disgrace of supporting a human rights abuser, it will also help to ensure that yet a new wave of Covid doesn't emanate from China.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'One of Trump’s last moves: US declares China’s actions against Uyghurs ‘genocide’' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/one-of-trumps-last-moves-us-declares-chinas-actions-against-uyghurs-genocide
'Hong Kong authorities arrest dozens of prominent pro-democracy activists' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/hong-kong-authorities-arrest-dozens-of-prominent-pro-democracy-activists
'It’s time for the Pope to recognize the carnage among Uighurs, Catholics in China' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/its-time-for-the-pope-to-recognize-the-carnage-among-uighurs-catholics-in-china
State Department officials have repeatedly tried to draw attention to the trafficking of Christians in the countries surrounding China. Kachin Christians from Burma and Christians from Pakistan are favored targets for Chinese traffickers. Traffickers lure impoverished and uneducated girls with the promise of economic comfort, a good job, or the story of a nice Christian boy looking for a wife. In reality, work at a brothel or forced marriage to an abusive and unloving husband is what awaits them.
The fate of women who escape their trafficking or forced marriage situation is also dire. Many cultures attach great shame and stigma to rape. Victims of rape may cease to be seen as an appropriate marriage prospect by their community.
The Open Doors report tells the story of Esther, a young Nigerian girl who was abducted by Boko Haram. After she escaped and made her way home with the child she had in captivity, she was shunned by her community. She said, “They called my baby ‘Boko.’”
The trauma that victims of rape, forced marriage, and human trafficking suffer from is long-lasting. Recovery is an extensive journey that is made even harder without support from the community.
Religious freedom is a human right that affirms other human rights. The various ways in which men and women are victimized by persecution bears witness to that. Research on this topic should cause us to renew our commitment to promoting religious freedom. The painful consequences of religious persecution ought to prompt free societies to take more robust action.