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