Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated new “violators of religious freedom” Monday, announcing new action intended to protect “those who simply want to exercise this essential freedom.”
Pompeo announced that the U.S. designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as “Countries of Particular Concern” for “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” (RELATED: China Committing ‘Demographic Genocide’ Against Uighurs Through Forced Abortion, Sterilization, Mass Detention, AP Investigation Finds)
The Secretary of State also noted that Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia have been placed on a Special Watch List for “severe violations of religious freedom,” and that extremist groups al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban have been designated “Entities of Particular Concern.”
Today the U.S. designates Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 7, 2020
“We have not renewed the prior Entity of Particular Concern designations for al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS-Khorasan, due to the total loss of territory formerly controlled by these terrorist organizations,” Pompeo said in a statement.
“While these two groups no longer meet the statutory criteria for designation, we will not rest until we have fully eliminated the threat of religious freedom abuses by any violent extremist and terrorist groups.” (RELATED: Pompeo Demands China End ‘Horrific’ And ‘Dehumanizing’ Forced Abortions, Sterilizations Of Uighurs)
Sudan and Uzbekistan are no longer on the special watch list due to progress in their respective governments, Pompeo said, citing “courageous reforms of their laws and practices stand as models for other nations to follow.”
“And yet our work is far from complete,” he said. “The United States will continue to work tirelessly to end religiously motivated abuses and persecution around the world, and to help ensure that each person, everywhere, at all times, has the right to live according to the dictates of conscience.”
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