US designates Pakistan, China as countries of particular concern for violation of religious freedom

Prime News, International, Washington (USA), December 8:- The United States has designated China and Pakistan as countries with particular concern for violation of religious freedom. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both China and Pakistan are among eight other countries with similar concerns.

Other nations on the list include Myanmar, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, that have been engaged in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom,” Pompeo said in a statement on Monday (December 7).

The State Department placed the Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia on a Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”

“Religious freedom is an inalienable right and the bedrock upon which free societies are built and flourish. Today, the United States — a nation founded by those fleeing religious persecution, as the recent Commission on Unalienable Rights report noted — once again took action to defend those who simply want to exercise this essential freedom,” Pompeo said.

The US also designated al-Shabaab, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin and the Taliban as ‘Entities of Particular Concern.’

Pompeo said the US did not renew the prior ‘Entity of Particular Concern’ designations for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS-Khorasan due to the total loss of territory formerly controlled by these terrorist organisations.

“While these two groups no longer meet the statutory criteria for designation, we will not rest until we have fully eliminated the threat of religious freedom abuses by any violent extremist and terrorist groups,” he said. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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