WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes Secretary of State John Kerry’s re-designation on April 15, 2016 of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, under the International Religious Freedom Act, and the designation for the first time of Tajikistan as a CPC.
“USCIRF welcomes the designation of these ten countries. The CPC designation shines a spotlight on the “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of the freedom of religion or belief that are taking place in these nations. However, the Secretary also waived imposing any consequences on Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The CPC designation brings with it a unique toolbox of policy options to effectively promote religious freedom, and USCIRF encourages the Administration to use these tools,” said Robert P. George, USCIRF’s Chairman.
While commending the addition of Tajikistan, USCIRF has concluded that the CPC list should be expanded to include seven other countries: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, and Vietnam. USCIRF also urges that waivers be limited to a set period of time and subject to review for renewal.
For more information about the CPC mechanism and implementation of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), please see USCIRF’s 2015 Annual Report.
To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-786-0615.