USCIRF: Religious Liberty Is Increasingly Dire

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Religious Liberty

Smoke rises as people look on in Meikhtila, Burma _ the site of sectarian violence, March 2013.
Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

WASHINGTON (BP) — Religious liberty continues to suffer globally at the hands of extremists and totalitarian governments, according to a new report by a congressionally approved watchdog.

In its annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended the same countries it had proposed in 2012, with one exception, be named to the list of the world’s worst violators of religious liberty. USCIRF urged the U.S. State Department April 30 to designate 15 governments as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs).

Those 15 recommendations included eight for redesignation that already have been labeled CPCs by the State Department: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. The other seven USCIRF proposed for CPC designation are Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

The bipartisan commission — which advises the White House, State Department and Congress on religious freedom conditions overseas — recommended Turkey’s inclusion on the CPC list last year but not this year.

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