2014: A Year of Particular Concern According to USCIRF
ICC Note: According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) annual report for 2014, there is a lot of progress left to be made in the field of religious freedom. The advisory group maintains a list of countries called “countries of particular concern” which meet the standard of “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” religious persecution. There are currently nine countries on the list, but after 2014, USCIRF recommended adding eight more countries to the list.
05/01/2015 United States (World Watch Monitor) – If ever there were a year that made plain the importance of religious freedom, 2014 was it, according to the just-released annual report by an American government advisory group.
“By any measure, the horrors of the past year speak volumes about how and why religious freedom and the protection of the rights of vulnerable religious communities matter,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in its 2015 report, released April 30. “Those responsible for the horrors have made the case better than anybody can.”
Among “those responsible,” the report made special note of Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Central African Republic, and Burma. The commission, which serves as an advisory body to the U.S. government, recommended that the State Department designate those five, and 12 more besides, as “countries of particular concern.” Under U.S. law, countries in that category are subject to sanctions or other “commensurate measures” meant to give religious freedom equal weight to other diplomatic concerns.
There are nine countries currently on the list, and in its new report, the commission recommends expanding it to 17.
Already designated as “countries of particular concern,” and which the commission recommends should remain on the list:
• North Korea
• Saudi Arabia