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Freedom of expression curbed in Myanmar

MANDALAY (UCAN): Civic groups in Myanmar have warned that amendments to laws governing demonstrations could be used to curb freedom of expression in the country.
 
Thet Swe Win, an interfaith advocate and director of the Centre for Youth and Social Harmony, said that the language used in the amendments to the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Act was not in line with democratic values.
 

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Inquiry after religious unrest in Sri Lanka

KANDY (SE): Sri Lanka’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, will appoint a commission comprised of three retired judges to investigate attacks on Muslims in the city of Kandy by Buddhist mobs in Sri Lanka, Firstpost reported.
 
The government declared a 10-day nationwide state of emergency on March 6 and police imposed a curfew in the Theldeniya and Pallekele areas of Kandy after Buddhist mobs attacked a mosque, Muslim businesses and houses on March 4. 
 

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Korean Church calls on Japan to atone for comfort women

SEOUL (UAN): A coalition made up of Catholic diocesan justice and peace committees, religious institutions and non-goernment organisiations in South Korea, has called on the Japanese government apologise for forcing Asian women—known as comfort women—to provide sexual services for its troops during World War II.
 

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Indonesian women march for legal protection

JAKARTA (UCAN): An estimated 1,200 women as well as children, students and women’s rights advocates took part in the second Women’s March in Indonesia on March 3, to push for new regulations to protect women from violence.
 

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Respect separation of state and religion Japanese bishops urge government

TOKYO (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan has written to the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, demanding strict observance of the constitutional separation of state-sponsored ceremonies and the imperial family’s private religious ones when the change of emperors takes place in 2019.
 

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Rohingya face oppostion to resettlement plans

MANDALY (UCAN): Plans by Myanmar’s government to resettle Muslim Rohingya refugees in southern Maungdaw in the restive Rakhine State are meeting up with opposition from other ethnic groups from the area.
 
Some 80 people from civil society groups across Rakhine held a meeting in the state capital, Sittwe, on February 24 to discuss the resettlement of Rohingya returning from Bangladesh.
 

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Philippines struggles against human trafficking

MANILA (UCAN): Michelle thought her prayers had been answered when she finally left her home in the Philippines for Saudi Arabia last year to work as a domestic helper. She thought the employment contract she had signed was her ticket out of poverty.
 
Sadly, she was gravely mistaken. In fact, she had joined a throng of her compatriots who have become inadvertent victims of human trafficking.
 

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South Korean Church campaigns against legalising abortion

Seoul (UCAN): As South Korea continues to modernise and with the number of single mothers on the rise, calls to decriminalise abortion have increased from sectors of society. In response, the Catholic Church launched a signature campaign on 3 December 2017 to keep the country’s anti-abortion law in place and has gathered over a million names to date. 
 

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Intimidation and killing will not stop drug problem bishop says

Manila (UCAN): Speaking during a 25th anniversary Mass for the group, Singles for Christ, on February 18, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, of Kalookan, the Philippines, lamented that many people agree that drug “addicts are not human.”
 
He told the gathering of around 7,000 young people, “My heart bleeds when there are Catholics who agree that criminals cannot be reformed, that they deserve to die and be exterminated if we are to have a peaceful Philippine society.” 
 

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Create jobs so Filipinos don’t have to work abroad bishop says

MANILA (UCAN): As many as 250,000 Filipinos will be affected by a total ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait, according to a Philippine government estimate.
 
The ban, ordered by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, came following the discovery of the body of 29-year-old Joanna Daniella Demafelis in a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait. Her remains had reportedly been stored there for a year and authorities said marks on her body indicated she was strangled.
 

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