Over the decade from 2007 to 2017, government restrictions on religion – laws, policies and actions by state officials that restrict religious beliefs and practices – increased markedly around the world, says report.
Meeting between Pontiff and the husband and daughter of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy, as well as Nigerian Rebecca Bitrus, who escaped from Boko Haram after two years in captivity.
"We are happy; to God be the glory", said Sister Agatha Osarekhoe, Superior General of the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Christ, announcing the release of the sisters.
Sr Kathleen McGarvey helped set up WIC in 2010 to enable Muslim and Christian women tackle issues of common concern such as health, literacy, unemployment and violence – both domestic and interreligious.
“We talk a lot about the challenges of family life but those of you who are here today are here because you know that overall the family brings a fulfilment into your lives that is quite unique.”
The Nigerian government announced the release of the young women who were among 300 abducted from the high school in Chibok in April 2014. Ever since then a high profile campaign has been under way under the title ‘Bring Back Our Girls’.
“Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger and exploitation, much like our forefathers at the time of the famine."
Sr Anne Falola OLA reports on the efforts of the newly opened Maria Centre in the Nigerian capital Abuja to support those displaced by Boko Haram’s violence.
In several areas the Christian presence has become virtually extinct; elsewhere congregations have grown due to an influx of Christians fleeing violence.
Charity provided eight schools in Dohuk and Erbil in Kurdish northern Iraq to where 120,000 Christians fled last summer after attacks by so-called Islamic State.
“I cannot celebrate the light of Christ without thinking of those students in Kenya singled out to be killed precisely because of their Christian identity" - Archbishop Martin.
Amnesty International warns that Boko Haram has deliberately targeted civilians through raids and bomb attacks, both of which have been increasing in frequency and severity.
"What is happening today lies in the years of corruption and mismanagement of state resources which consigned our citizens to a life of misery and squalor” - Bishop.