Archive - April 30, 2015

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USCIRF’s 2015 Annual Report

USCIRF’s 2015 Annual Report

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, on which I serve, released its 2015 annual report today, along with an introductory video. As anyone following the news this part year knows, the state of religious freedom in the world is not good. It is worth thinking carefully about what can be done (and what can be done by the US in particular) about this tragic state of affairs, and the report offers specific recommendations for US policy.

As the press release notes:

USCIRF, in its role as an independent U.S. federal government advisory body, recommends that the State Department add eight more nations to its list of “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, where  particularly severe violations of religious freedom are perpetrated or tolerated.  These countries are:

Central African Republic (first time recommendation)

Egypt

Iraq

Nigeria

Pakistan

Syria

Tajikistan

Vietnam

 

USCIRF also recommends that the State Department redesignate as CPCs the following nine countries and take additional actions to promote religious freedom:

Burma

China

Eritrea

Iran

North Korea

Saudi Arabia

Sudan

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

 

Along with recommending CPC designations, USCIRF also places 10 countries on its 2015 “Tier 2” list, a Commission designation for governments that engage in or tolerate violations that are serious but not CPC-level.   USCIRF urges increased U.S. government attention to the following countries:

Afghanistan

Azerbaijan

Cuba

India

Indonesia

Kazakhstan

Laos

Malaysia

Russia

Turkey

 

The USCIRF Report also highlights religious freedom concerns in countries that do not meet Tier 1 (CPC) or Tier 2 thresholds, but should also be the focus of concern.  These countries are:

 

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Belarus

Cyprus

Kyrgyzstan

Sri Lanka

© Daniel Philpott The views expressed in this forum are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent those of Daniel Philpott, CCHR, or the University of Notre Dame.