Thursday, May 03, 2007

USCIRF Makes Recommendations On List Of Countries Violating Religious Freedom

Yesterday, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued its 2007 recommendations to the Secretary of State on countries in which there are serious violations of religious liberty. (Press release.) Eleven countries were recommended for listing as "Countries of Particular Concern"-- those with the most egregious violations of religious freedom and belief. Eight of these countries were named CPCs by the State Department last year-- Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Eritrea, Uzbekistan and Burma. The Commission recommended placing Viet Nam back on the list. It had been removed last year on the eve of President Bush’s visit there for the Asian Pacific Economic Conference. USCIRF also recommended adding Turkmenistan and Pakistan to the list. Last year the State Department rejected USCIRF's recommendations to list these two countries as CPCs. Annual designation of CPCs by the President is mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

USCIRF also placed eight countries on its watch list, as countries where religious freedom violations call for close monitoring. Carried over from last year are Afghanistan, Belarus, Egypt, Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia, and Nigeria. Added this year is Iraq. USCIRF also issued its 2007 Annual Report containing detailed reports on the status of religious freedom in numerous countries around the world.