The United States Centre for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a US government body that monitors religious freedom in countries around the world, has recommended that India be designated as a “country of particular concern” (CPC) for the second consecutive year.
In a ‘virtual launch’ unveiling its 2021 annual report, USCIRF chair Gayle Manchin said that past year had been “challenging for most nations trying to balance public health concerns alongside the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief”.
In the 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends 14 countries to the State Department for designation as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) because their governments engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations.”
These include 10 countries that the US State Department designated as CPCs in December 2020—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—as well as four others—India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
“We urge the Biden administration and Congress to champion religious freedom and to center the safety and dignity of religious communities as foreign policy priorities. “
“USCIRF recommends that the administration should immediately increase the annual ceiling for refugees; and definitively and publicly conclude that the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people by the Burmese military constitute genocide and take action accordingly; as the State Department recently determined regarding China’s genocide against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims.” USCIRF Vice Chair Anurima Bhargava added.