Washington, D.C. – The USA Fee on Worldwide Non secular Freedom (USCIRF) right now launched its 2022 Annual Report documenting developments throughout 2021, together with vital regress in nations reminiscent of Afghanistan and the Central African Republic (CAR). USCIRF’s 2022 Annual Report gives suggestions to boost the U.S. authorities’s promotion of freedom of faith or perception overseas.
The report covers discrimination and oppression towards members of the next faiths: Baha’i, Buddhist Hoa Hao, Buddhist Tibetan, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witness, Orthodox, Protestants, Erfan-e Halgheh Practitioner, Falun Gong, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim Ahmadiyya, Muslim Shi’a, Muslim Sufi, Muslim Sunni, Church of Scientology, and others.
The report additionally notes USCIRF suggestions applied by the U.S. authorities—together with the designation of Russia as a rustic of explicit concern, the imposition of focused sanctions on spiritual freedom violators, and genocide determinations for atrocities perpetrated by the Chinese language authorities towards Uyghur and different Turkic Muslims and by the Burmese navy towards Rohingya Muslims.
“We’re disheartened by the deterioration of freedom of faith or perception in some nations— particularly Afghanistan below the Taliban’s de facto authorities since August. Non secular minorities have confronted harassment, detention, and even dying resulting from their religion or beliefs, and years of progress towards extra equitable entry to schooling and illustration of girls and ladies have disappeared,” USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza stated.
“In the meantime, USCIRF is inspired by the Biden administration’s continued prioritization of worldwide spiritual freedom throughout its first yr. To proceed this progress, we strongly urge the administration to implement USCIRF’s suggestions—particularly, to broaden its Precedence 2 refugee designation to grant entry for at-risk spiritual teams in Afghanistan, and to designate Nigeria as a rustic of explicit concern.”
USCIRF’s independence and bipartisanship allows it to unflinchingly establish threats to spiritual freedom overseas. In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends 15 nations to the State Division for designation as “nations of explicit concern” (CPCs) as a result of their governments interact in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations.” These embrace 10 that the State Division designated as CPCs in November 2021: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—in addition to 5 others: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Syria, and Vietnam.
For the primary time ever, the State Division designated Russia as a CPC in 2021, which USCIRF had been recommending since 2017. Regrettably, the State Division eliminated Nigeria as a CPC although it had been added the earlier yr and spiritual freedom circumstances stay dire.
The 2022 Annual Report additionally recommends 12 nations for placement on the State Division’s Particular Watch Listing (SWL) primarily based on their governments’ perpetration or toleration of extreme violations. These embrace three that the State Division positioned on that record in November 2021: Algeria, Cuba, and Nicaragua—in addition to 9 others: Azerbaijan, CAR, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. In 2021, USCIRF eliminated CAR from its SWL suggestions as a result of incidents of spiritual concentrating on and violence had decreased throughout 2020, however these traits have since been reversed.
The 2022 Annual Report additional recommends to the State Division seven non-state actors for redesignation as “entities of explicit concern” (EPCs) for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations. The State Division designated all seven of those teams as EPCs in November 2021: al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Islamic State within the Higher Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP or ISIS-West Africa), and Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM).
“All through the previous yr, the U.S. authorities continued to sentence abuses of spiritual freedom and maintain perpetrators accountable by way of focused sanctions and different instruments at its disposal. Shifting ahead, the USA ought to take further steps to assist freedom of faith or perception all over the world. USCIRF’s 2022 Annual Report makes suggestions on how Congress and the Government Department can additional advance this common, elementary human proper,” USCIRF Vice Chair Nury Turkel acknowledged.
Along with chapters with key findings and U.S. coverage suggestions for these 27 nations, the annual report describes and assesses U.S. worldwide spiritual freedom coverage total. The report additionally highlights vital international developments and traits associated to spiritual freedom throughout 2021—together with in nations that don’t meet the standards for CPC or SWL suggestions. These embrace: the COVID-19 pandemic and spiritual freedom, blasphemy and hate speech legislation enforcement, transnational repression, spiritual intolerance in Europe, deteriorating spiritual freedom circumstances in South Asia, and political upheaval that raises spiritual freedom issues.
The report additionally consists of sections highlighting key USCIRF suggestions that the U.S. authorities has applied from USCIRF’s 2021 Annual Report, discussing human rights violations perpetrated primarily based on the coercive enforcement of interpretations of faith, and offering particulars on people included in USCIRF’s Freedom or Faith or Perception (FoRB) Victims Listing and Non secular Prisoners of Conscience Venture.
Non secular actions included within the report, being the goal of spiritual discrimination by states are: