USA targets 10 countries over religious freedom violations

05 January, 2018, 15:29 | Author: Hope Soto
  • State Department Puts Pakistan on Watch List for Severe Religious Freedom Violations

The State Department released a statement on Thursday pointing out that it had re-designated 10 other nations as "countries of particular concern".

Pakistan was placed on the U.S. State Department's special watch list for "severe violations of religious freedom".

Pakistan rejecting the USA designation of Pakistan in the "Special Watch List for Severe Violations of Religious Freedom", has termed the report not based on objective criteria, a Foreign Office statement said here Friday.

A country is labeled as a CPC after it engages in "systemic, ongoing, [and] egregious" violations of religious liberty. He claimed that Pakistan is operating against the interests of its own people by providing safe havens and support bases for Taliban and Haqqani network leadership who perpetuate hell in portions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"The protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity", the department said in a statement.

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USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark emphasized that "Pakistan continues to harass its religious minorities, has state-sanctioned discrimination against groups such as the Ahmadis, and tolerates extra-judicial violence in the guise of opposing blasphemy". He added that Pakistan considers its minorities an important part of its social fabric.

"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.

Pakistan will continue to work with the worldwide community to ensure that internationally agreed standards on religious freedom are observed in Pakistan and the broader region.

The United States and Pakistan have had increased tensions recently.

A bipartisan group of six senators, including Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), asked Tillerson in October to make Pakistan a CPC, citing systematic religious oppression. "His most recent assessment is that Pakistan does not meet the criteria for CPC designation, but meets the Special Watch List criteria", a State Department Spokesperson told PTI. The country has a dominantly Muslim north with the south being Christian. Royce said Vietnam has regularly violated both religious liberty and other basic human rights, and that it is the United States' responsibility to call out these violations. "The U.S. should never shrink from calling out countries for such abuses".

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