Washington D.C., Apr 29, 2019 / 16:02 pm
The majority of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom are found in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, according to a report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released Monday. The report's introduction focused on abuses against China's Uyghur Muslims.
USCIRF released April 29 its 20th annual report documenting the world’s worst violators of religious freedom. With the exception of Cuba— the only majority Christian country listed, other than Russia— all the countries identified as the worst offenders are located in the eastern hemisphere.
“Our goal is not only to call out the offenders, but to provide concrete actions for the U.S. government to take in working with these countries to get off our lists,” USCIRF Chair Tenzin Dorjee said in a release accompanying the report.
Each year the group identifies “countries of particular concern” using the criteria of “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations” of religious freedom.
Non-state actors are given the designation “entities of particular concern” using similar criteria.
Some of these violations include torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; prolonged detention without charges; causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons; or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons, the report says.
Among the 16 countries designated as CPCs for 2019 are ten flagged by the state department in November 2018: Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The list also includes six other countries: Central African Republic, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
In addition the group identified 12 countries that meet either one or two of the three criteria for a CPC, placing them on the “Tier 2” list. These include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, and Turkey.