United States designates China, Russia, 8 others as violators of religious freedom

The Secretary of State identified countries and entities which he says violate its citizens’ religious freedom rights.

On Wednesday, Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, released a statement regarding religious freedom around the world, highlighting the importance of that right.

“The United States will not waver in its commitment to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all and in every country,” he said, adding that the current administration is dedicated to maintaining and fighting for the right to religious freedom worldwide.

It is the Secretary of State’s responsibility to “identify governments and non-state actors” whose violations of religious freedom qualify them under the International Religious Freedom Act.

Blinken announced the Countries of Particular Concern were Burma, the People’s Republic of China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, due to their engagement in and toleration of “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Additionally, he designated some countries on a Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating “severe violations of religious freedom”. The countries on this list were Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

As for non-government entities, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimin, and the Taliban were placed on a list of Entities of Particular Concern.




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