The International Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers
The pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government has generated a wave of Afghan people fleeing incoming Taliban rule. With the Taliban committed to governing according to fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, concerns are particularly heightened for women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, journalists, and those who supported the fight against the Taliban. Abroad, governments have debated whether and to what degree to accept asylum-seekers, with many seeking to either offshore asylum processing or contain refugees to the immediate region of southwest and Central Asia. For refugees who do make it out, the intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world’s regions in recent years—including the increasing political power of far-right nativist movements—has created new threats for asylum-seekers in their destination countries.
While politicians and analysts around the world bicker over responsibility and blame, Afghans scramble to exit before the full weight of the new Taliban regime comes down. Here is a collection of reporting on the conditions in Afghanistan for those needing refuge, which countries are offering haven, and reactions from the Afghan diaspora.
Continue reading Global Event: The Afghanistan Exodus
The Endless Labors of Pakistan’s Debt-Bound Women
A form of indentured servitude persists in the vast fields of Pakistan’s poorest regions, where families labor on lands to pay off debts whose balance never seems to decrease. But while men may find their “payments” limited to hard labor, women and girls find themselves vulnerable not only to physical labor, but to domestic, sexual, and even marital labor forced under conditions of extreme duress. Religious minorities are particularly vulnerable, with an estimated 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls trafficked as a result of these debts, sold off to predatory landowners and forced to convert to Islam. The Associated Press examines the conditions faced by the more than 2 million Pakistanis living in what human rights organizations have called modern-day slavery and the particular indignities to which women and girls are subjected.
“A Pakistani girl is snatched away, payment for a family debt” (The Associated Press)
(Image Credit: B.K. Bangash/AP)
Hindu teacher attacked as Bangladesh cracks down on Islamist militants
- Ribon Chakraborty, a college math teacher, survived a machete attack by three assailants in his home in Madaripur.
- The government reported that the three attackers were a part of the banned group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
- More than 11,000 have been arrested across the country in the last week, including political dissidents, as security forces have begun taking extensive action to combat the targeted killings of minorities that have left more than 30 dead since 2015.
“Hizb ut-Tahrir men hacked Madaripur teacher” (Dhaka Tribune)
“Bangladesh Hindu teacher’s attacker killed in shootout” (Reuters)
“194 Held in Bangladesh Mass Arrests May Have Militant Ties, Police Say” (The New York Times)
IS claims responsibility for murder of Bangladeshi Hindu and alleged Christian
- Debesh Chandra Pramanik, 68, died after a hacking attack in his shoe shop in the northwest district of Gaibandha.
- The attack followed the hacking death of a doctor in Kushtia Islamist militants alleged was a Christian.
- The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, though the government continues to maintain that IS has no presence in Bangladesh and is attempting to hijack the work of other militant groups.
“Islamic State claims fatal stabbing of Bangladeshi Hindu: monitor SITE” (Reuters)
“Doctor Killed in Bangladeshi Machete Attack” (The New York Times)
“Shahriar rubbishes IS claims” (Dhaka Tribune)
Anti-Muslim protests in Myanmar increase following new government installation
- Hundreds of Buddhist nationalists staged anti-Muslim protests ahead of a visit from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who took up the issue of the persecution of Myanmar’s Muslim minority with state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
- “No Muslims allowed” signs and anti-Muslim patrols have popped up in villages like Thaungtan, with those even suspected of being Muslim harassed and assaulted.
- State counselor Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly instructed U.S. diplomats not to use the term “Rohingya,” echoing Buddhist nationalists who consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants and Muslims and Hindus “associate citizens.”
“‘No Muslims allowed’: how nationalism is rising in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar” (The Guardian)
“Myanmar Nationalists Stage Protest in Mandalay Against Use of Term ‘Rohingya’ by U.S.” (Radio Free Asia)
“‘No Rohingya’: Behind the US Embassy Protest in Myanmar” (The Diplomat)
(Image Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters, via The Guardian)
Court orders Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu to turn away out-of-dress-code visitors
- The Madras high court issued an order banning jeans, shorts, skirts, leggings, and short sleeves from the 6,000 Hindu temples in the southern Indian state.
- The court cited a desire to “enhance spiritual ambiance” as the motivation for the ruling.
- The ruling applies to locals as well as foreigners at what are major tourist attractions, with one temple receiving more than 4 million visitors per year.
“Tamil Nadu temples ring in dress code” (The Hindu)
“Hindu temples in southern India enforce western clothing ban” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: M. Vedhan/The Hindu)
The Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has seen millions uprooted as local communities have found themselves caught in the middle of the conflict between the Taliban and a coalition of Afghan and U.S. forces. After the Taliban took control of the country in the mid-1990s, two of the country’s religious minorities–Hindus and Sikhs–saw their insecurity skyrocket, with land seizures, open harassment, and economic exclusion causing most of the tens of thousands in their ranks to flee for asylum elsewhere. Anadolu Agency, a state-run media outlet in Turkey, provides a glimpse of the outlook Afghan Hindus and Sikhs have on their prospects today.
“Afghan Sikhs, Hindus fear violence but long for home” (Anadolu Agency)
“Feeling alienated, Sikhs choose to leave Afghanistan” (The Hindu)
“Oppressed by Taliban, Afghan Sikh families seek help from DSGMC” (The Times of India)
“Facing Intolerance, Many Sikhs and Hindus Leave Afghanistan” (Wall Street Journal)
(Image Credit: via Anadolu Agency)
India plans to amend law to grant citizenship to migrants seeking asylum from religious persecution
- The Home Ministry is expected to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant citizenship to religious minorities who fled persecution in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Immigrants who arrived before the start of 2015 will be eligible for citizenship through either a 7-year residency or 12-year naturalization process.
- Legislators are also looking to amend visa laws to allow undocumented religious asylum-seekers to remain in the country while their citizenship applications are processed.
Read the full story at The Hindu.
(Image Credit: AP file photo, via The Hindu)
Dubai’s Religious Minorities
Though strict in terms of public expression, Dubai has allowed rich, diverse communities to develop behind the walls of churches, temples, and other non-Muslim houses of worship. The BBC examines the growth of Dubai’s minority religious communities–including various Christian sects, Hindus, and Sikhs–and the extent of the freedoms they enjoy in the rapidly modernizing city.
Read the full feature at the BBC.
(Image Credit: BBC)
China opens new path to Tibet holy site for Indian pilgrims
- The new land passage offers a route from India through the Himalayas to Mount Kailash.
- In addition to its geographic isolation, Kailash has remained out of reach for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims due to China’s tight visa restrictions on travel to Tibet.
- The opening comes as China and India work to improve relations and remove obstacles–including ongoing border disputes–to improved economic and political ties.
Read the full story at Reuters.
(Image Credit: Jacky Chen/Reuters)
Visualizing the European migration surge, Arab atheism, Tokyo Pride, and more in today’s Rounds… Continue reading The Sunday Rounds