UN investigator: Rights of minorities to worship undermined

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special investigator on religious freedom urged countries to repeal laws undermining the right of minorities to worship and hold beliefs, pointing as examples to China’s detention of Uighurs, 21 countries that criminalize apostasy, and sweeping surveillance of Christians in North Korea and Muslims in Thailand.

Ahmed Shaheed warned that “the failure to eliminate discrimination, combined with political marginalization and nationalist attacks on identities, can propel trajectories of violence and even atrocity crimes.”

He called on governments to “repeal all laws that undermine the exercise of the human rights to freedom of religion or belief,” adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and act to empower minorities to claim all their rights to religion and beliefs.