Eritrean regime seizes all Catholic-run health services.
Sick forced from beds as 21 hospitals and clinics forced to close

Thousands of sick people across Eritrea are being deprived of vital medical care after the government seized three hospitals, two health centres and 16 clinics.

Government soldiers forced patients from their beds and out of the clinics and seized religious houses as they confiscated the 21 health institutes run by the Catholic Church, serving at least 170,000 people every year.

“It is like amputating one of the Church’s arms” says Catholic priest, in response to the forced occupation and closure of Catholic-run health facilities by the Eritrean military

by Tobias Lehner.

“The purpose of the brutal actions of the Eritrean government was to divest the Church of all services in the areas of education and health. Our work is to be restricted only to our places of worship,” the Catholic priest Mussie Zerai explained to the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Father Zerai lives in Rome and coordinates the pastoral work for Eritrea and communities in Europe. Which are on the rise: thousands of people are leaving their homeland each year.

Their numbers may grow even larger now after the brutal actions carried out by the government of the northeast African country against Christian facilities: in mid-June, the Eritrean military forcibly occupied and closed 21 hospitals and medical facilities run by the Church. The patients were more or less thrown out of their beds. The military smashed windows and doors and pressured the staff, Father Zerai said. He reported that the director of a hospital in northern Eritrea, a Franciscan sister, was even arrested when she resisted the closure.

A Message from National Director Mr Bernard Toutounji

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India: Religious minorities worried about election results

The parliamentary elections in India ended a few days ago. The nationalist ruling party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprisingly won the world's largest democratic election - nearly 900 million voters. According to a source close to the Church, “the victory of Modi is a source of frustration and fear to the minorities in India.”

“The five years with Narendra Modi in power have brought many concerns and been extremely difficult for us. We are fearful that the next five years to come will be still worse.” This was the reaction of one source who spoke to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation ACN, but who prefers to remain anonymous for reasons of security.

Modi

Above - Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

“The fact that the Hindu nationalist BJP party has won so overwhelmingly is a warning signal for us, since it shows that Hindu nationalism is growing and the minorities – both the Christians and the Muslims – often find ourselves abandoned in the face of social injustice and discriminated against even quite openly for religious reasons. But also because the Indian economy has been going downhill in recent years and the poor are now even poorer than before. The poorest classes are being overlooked and the rich are the only ones who have benefited”, the same source explained.

Tunisia: Our mission here is to bear witness

The ancient city of Carthage, in the era of the Phoenicians – where modern Tunis stands today – was the city that saw the greatest number of martyrs of the Church after Rome. Now, in the 21st century, it has become a “very fragile” Church, according to Archbishop Ilario Antoniazzi of Tunis. He was speaking in an interview with Maria Lozano, during a visit to the international headquarters of the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International).

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Archbishop Ilario Antoniazzi from Tunisia during his visit at ACN in Königstein 10.05.2019
Photographer: Maria Lozano. Copyright Status: Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

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