Vatican urges Italy to stop proposed anti-homophobia law


The Vatican has made an unprecedented intervention urging the Italian government to change a proposed law that would criminalise homophobia over concerns it will infringe upon the Catholic church’s “freedom of thought”. A letter delivered by the British archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary of relations with states, said parts of the legislation violated … Read more

German army appoints first rabbi as religious counsellor in 100 years


The German army has installed its first rabbi as a religious counsellor in 100 years, in a symbol of the renewal of Jewish life decades after the Holocaust. Priests and pastors are already providing religious services to the estimated 94,000 Christians in the military. But the equivalent has not been available to Jewish soldiers, who … Read more

Les Hijabeuses: the female footballers tackling France’s on-pitch hijab ban


Founé Diawara was 15 years old when she was first told she could not wear her hijab in a football match. It was an important game. She had recently got into the team of a club in Meaux, the town north-east of Paris where she grew up, and they were playing a local rival. Diawara … Read more

Hungary’s LGBT protests and Juneteenth Day: human rights this fortnight – in pictures


A protest outside the Independent Human Rights Commission, in Herat, Afghanistan. Thousands of Afghans have worked as interpreters, security guards and contractors for US and Nato forces in the country in the past 20 years. Demonstrations were held across the country, with protesters demanding special visas and to be evacuated from the country, citing the … Read more

EU founding father Robert Schuman moves a step closer to sainthood


Robert Schuman, a French statesman who was an early advocate for the bloc that evolved into the European Union, has moved ahead on the Catholic church’s path toward possible sainthood. The Vatican said Pope Francis on Saturday approved a decree declaring the “heroic virtues″ of Schuman, a former prime minister and finance minister after the … Read more

Navalny backers see cautionary tale in Russian raids on Jehovah’s Witnesses


The decision by a Moscow court to declare Alexei Navalny’s nationwide political organisation as “extremist” adds the group to a list associated with terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and Islamic State. But for a guide to how Russia could treat Navalny’s supporters, a better example is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a non-violent religious group that has … Read more

Ratko Mladić: life in prison is as close to justice as his victims will get


When Ratko Mladić’s life sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity was confirmed, marking the end of the road for the Bosnian Serb general 10 years after his capture, Munira Subašić was in The Hague courtroom to watch. In July 1995, Subašić was outside a UN compound, a disused battery factory near Srebrenica, appealing for … Read more

German cardinal offers to resign over sexual abuse ‘catastrophe’


Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of Germany’s most senior Catholics, has offered his resignation to the pope over the “catastrophe” of sexual abuse by clerics and other church members. Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising and a prominent liberal, said in a letter to Pope Francis that he wanted to share responsibility for the abuse … Read more