Justice is rare for Christian women raped in Pakistan
(WNS)–Two Muslim men accused of raping Christian sisters in Pakistan were acquitted in October, an all too common outcome for rape trials in the Islamic nation. The teenage girls from the village of Jaranwala were abducted and raped in November 2014. They recognized their attackers as young Muslim men from the area and reported the assault, according to Morning Star News (MSN). Seeking punishment for their attackers meant danger for the entire family. Even before trial, they were threatened with death and attackers sprayed their home with gunfire. Now that the trial is over, their father thinks they’re in greater danger, and the girls have been relocated for safety. “We didn’t get justice,” their father told the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), according to MSN.
Congo releases a small fraction of adopted children to waiting families
(WNS)–Dozens of children stuck in halted adoptions in the Democratic Republic of Congo are now authorized to leave the country after two years of waiting, according to an announcement by Congolese officials Nov. 2. In September 2013, Congo’s government suddenly froze all international adoptions by refusing to issue any exit permits for adopted children. The halt left hundreds of families in limbo, some with finalized adoptions whose children were unable to leave the country and others stuck in the middle of the adoption process. The exit permit is required to take the children through airport security as they leave the country. Last Monday’s announcement is the first action by the Congolese government in months. Government officials announced they would grant exit permits to 72 adopted children, 69 with completed paperwork and three with serious medical conditions. The released children will travel to new homes in Italy, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States.
Nearly 1,000 adoptive families, almost half of them American, remain stuck in the system, and there is little hope those cases will proceed quickly.
Chile issues first civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples
(WNS)–Chile’s Civil Registry made an exception in Oct. to its ongoing strike to perform the country’s first civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples. After 12 years of debate in the Chilean Parliament, President Michelle Bachelet signed the Civil Union Agreement into law in April, granting cohabitation rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples. The agreement also gives partners parental rights and health care and pension benefits but does not permit adoption.
In a country with a historically Catholic majority and socially conservative culture, many Chileans have protested the government’s increasingly liberal social agenda. Evangelical leaders warn the civil unions eventually will lead to recognition for same-sex marriage, although not all the country’s religious leaders oppose the move.