by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) published its 2021 Annual Report earlier this month, redesignating 10 nations as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) and recommending to the State Department that India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam now be given that designation as well.
The bipartisan USCIRF commission established by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act called for the redesignation of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as CPCs, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
Among a plethora of examples of religious oppression and persecution around the world, including the atrocities committed by China against the Uighur population, the USCIRF report noted that in 2020 the Houthi authorities in Yemen continued to assert “a curse on the Jews,” applying “ongoing and severe repression” to the tiny Jewish community there.
International Christian Concern, which has closely monitored the ongoing devastating attacks on Christians by Fulani militants in Nigeria, notes in particular that the USCIRF report highlights the fact that “religious freedom conditions in Nigeria deteriorated [last year], with both state and non-state actors committing egregious violations of the right to freedom of belief.”
The USCIRF report also highlighted the danger facing non-Muslims, including Christians, who are vulnerable to the abuse of the country’s harsh blasphemy law, ICC said.
Individuals have been jailed for such things as posting a Facebook comment about Mohammed, and accusations of blasphemy have also led to mob violence, loss of employment, and other harms.
The USCIRF further recommends that the State Department place 12 countries on the US Special Watch List (SWL) for religious freedom, including Azerbaijan and Turkey. On the other hand, Bahrain and Sudan were noted as having made improvements to their religious freedom policy.