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Pak on US Special Watch List for violations of religious

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

The US has placed on a special watch list for "severe violations" of religious freedom, the State Department said. The announcement came as of State decided to re-designate about 10 countries as 'Countries of Particular Concern'. "The also placed on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom," State Department said. No other explanation on was available immediately. "Too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief," Nauert said in a statement. "Today, a number of governments infringe upon individuals' ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief, worship in accordance with their religion or beliefs, or be free from coercion to practice a particular religion or belief," she said. In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, she said the of state annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom as 'Countries of Particular Concern'. "Today, the announces that the of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) on December 22, 2017," she said. Noting that the protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity, Nauert said these designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries. "We recognise that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; we welcome these initiatives and look forward to continued dialogue," Nauert said. The US remains committed to working with governments, organisations, and religious leaders to advance religious freedom around the world, she added. In November, and James P McGovern, Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, in a letter to Tillerson had urged him to designate as CPC alleging it has engaged in systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom. The Commission on International Religious Freedom has been advocating for designating as a CPC since 2002. It has argued that the government of continues "to perpetrate and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations.

Religiously discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation, such as the countrys blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, continue to result in prosecutions and imprisonments". In a report last year, the determined that over an eight-year period is one of a small group of countries that "stand out as having the most restrictions on religion when both government restrictions and religious hostilities are taken into account".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 04 2018. 21:05 IST
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