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USCIRF Names 11 Countries of Particular Concern, Puts Iraq on Watch List

ICC Note: Of particular interest on this list of religious freedom violators, so designated by an official US commission, are China, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, which have significant trade relationships with the US.

Press Release from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

5/2/07 United States (USCIRF) – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today announced its 2007 recommendations to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs. The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate as CPCs those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief.

“The issue of religious freedom is now understood to have a profound impact on our own political and national security interests as well as on political stability throughout the world,” said Commission Chair Felice D. Gaer.

The Commission’s recommendations for CPC designation for 2007 are: Burma , Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( North Korea ), Eritrea , Iran , Pakistan , China , Saudi Arabia , Sudan , Turkmenistan , Uzbekistan , and Vietnam .

The Commission has also established a Watch List of countries where conditions do not rise to the statutory level requiring CPC designation but which require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the governments. Iraq has been added to the Commission’s Watch List this year, joining Afghanistan , Bangladesh , Belarus , Cuba , Egypt , Indonesia , and Nigeria .

Today the Commission is also releasing its 2007 Annual Report with recommendations on U.S. policy for the President, Secretary of State, and Congress with regard to CPC countries, as well as other countries where the United States can help to promote freedom of religion or belief.

The 2007 Annual Report may be found on the Commission’s web site at www.uscirf.gov and may also be obtained by contacting the Commission’s Communications Department at [email protected] or (202) 523-3240, ext. 114… [Go To Full Story]