WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday designated Pakistan and China in its list of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) for engaging in or tolerating “systematic and egregious violations of religious freedom“.
Both Pakistan and China are among the 10 countries highlighted by the US State Department as CPCs for their failure to stem the persecution and discrimination of faith groups.
In an official statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have been designated as CPC under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, as amended, for engaging in or tolerating systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.
The Secretary of State further informed that countries – Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia have been placed on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom”.
“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,” Pompeo said.
Additionally, 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 as “Entities of Particular Concern” under the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016, Pompeo said.
He further said that Sudan and Uzbekistan have been removed from the Special Watch List based on “significant, concrete progress” undertaken by their governments the past year.