Friday, May 02, 2008

USCIRF Issues Its 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom

Today the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom announced release of its 2008 Annual Report (full text) recommending eleven countries be designated as "countries of particular concern"-- those that are are most restrictive of religious freedom. The countries on the list are: Burma, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. The Report also includes a Watch List of countries that require close monitoring, though which are less oppressive that the CPCs. Those on the Watch List are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The Commission is postponing its recommendations as to Iraq pending a Commission visit to the country later this month. This compromise was approved after a sharp party-line split among Commissioners over the draft chapter in the report on Iraq. (New York Sun). USCIRF's recommendations are made pursuant to provisions of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. This year's recommendations largely mirror those in last year's report. USCIRF's recommendations go to the State Department for its use in preparing its annual report on international religious freedom. [Thanks to Blog from the Capital for the lead.]