US designates Pakistan, China, Iran among countries of concern over religious freedom
WASHINGTON: United States (US designated Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia among others as countries of particular concern under Religious Freedom Act over severe violations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Blinken in statement said those designated as countries of particular concern-which also include North Korea and Myanmar engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom. Algeria, Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam were placed on watch list. Several groups, including Kremlin-aligned Wagner Group, a private paramilitary organisation that is active in Syria, Africa and Ukraine were also designated as entities of particular concern. Wagner group was designated over its activities in Central African Republic, Blinken said.
"Around world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs," Blinken said in statement.
"United States will not stand by in face of these abuses." Other countries designated as countries of particular concern were Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Act gives Blinken range of policy responses, including sanctions or waivers, but they are not automatic.
Published in The Daily National Courier, December, 03 2022
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