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USCIRF recommends 15 countries for “Country of Particular Concern”

AsiaUSCIRF recommends 15 countries for “Country of Particular Concern”

USCIRF recommends 15 countries for “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) designation in their 2022 Annual Report, and India is on the list.

Among USCIRF recommends among the 15 countries for “Country of Particular Concern” for their (CPC) designation in their 2022 Annual Report are Afghanistan, Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

The law defines particularly severe violations as “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom,” including violations such as (1) torture; (2) prolonged detention without charges; (3) forced disappearance; or (4) another flagrant denial of life, liberty, or security of persons.

USCIRF, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, is a U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, the President is required to annually review the status of religious freedom in every country in the world and designate each country the government which has engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

Under the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016 (Wolf Act), the President is required to “designate each country that engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom during the previous year but does not meet” all the criteria for being designated as a CPC to a “Special Watch List” (SWL).

The Wolf Act also further requires the designation of Entities of Particular Concern (EPC) for non-state actors that have engaged in particularly severe violations of religious freedom. According to the law, a “non-state actor” is defined as “a non-sovereign entity that (A) exercises considerable political power and territorial control; (B) is outside the control of a sovereign government; and (C) often employs violence in pursuit of its objectives.” The President has delegated the authority to make CPC, SWL, and EPC designations to the Secretary of State.

India has fallen under the category of the 15 countries of a “Country of Particular Concern” due to the spiraling violence against Muslims and Christians in particular in regards to unwarranted arrests, murders, lynching, hate speech even from political leaders, attacks on mosques and churches, burning of Bibles, forced conversions to Hinduism called “ghar wapsi” and laws made against Muslims and Christians to intimidate and dehumanize them.

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