Report: USCIRF Experts 'Discouraged by Deteriorating Religious Freedom in Some Countries'

The report lists “countries of particular concern”, countries to be placed on the “special watch list” as well as non-state actors known for systematic, continuous and gross violations.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) yesterday published his Annual Report. This report provides the US government with recommendations to strengthen the promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad.

Although "encouraged by the Biden administration's continued priority for international religious freedom in its first year," USCIRF President Nadine Maenza voices despair at "the deterioration of religious freedom religion in some countries.

“We are discouraged by the deterioration of freedom of religion or belief in some countries, including Afghanistan under the de facto Taliban government since August. Religious minorities have faced harassment, detention and even death because of their faith or beliefs, and years of progress towards more equitable access to education and representation for women and girls has disappeared. . »

As every year, the report lists "countries of particular concern" because their governments are committing or condoning "systematic, continuing and gross violations" and places others on the "special watch list" because of the perpetration or condoning of serious violations by their governments. One category concerns entities of particular concern, non-state actors known for systematic, continuous and gross violations.

This year, USCIRF is asking the US State Department to designate 15 countries as "countries of particular concern": Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam.

The organization is also asking to place 12 countries on the special watch list: Algeria, Cuba, Nicaragua, Azerbaijan, CAR, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

The report calls for the designation as entities of particular concern of al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the State Islam in West Africa Province (ISWAP or ISIS-West Africa) and Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM).

For Jeff King, president of the organization International Christian Concern, “the USCIRF gives voice to the persecuted”.

“We are grateful for the remarkable work of USCIRF on behalf of religious freedom. It is a formidable resource that puts pressure on oppressive foreign regimes and rulers who restrict the free expression of faith by their citizens. »

MC

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