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US designates 10 countries over religious freedom violations

China, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia among nations added to religious freedoms blacklist

Michael Hernandez   | 17.11.2021
US designates 10 countries over religious freedom violations

WASHINGTON

The US designated 10 countries, including China, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia, as countries of particular concern on Wednesday for alleged religious freedoms violations.

In addition to the four nations, Secretary of State Antony Blinken blacklisted Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan for "having engaged in or tolerated 'systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.'"

"The United States will not waiver in its commitment to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all and in every country," the top diplomat said in a statement.

"In far too many places around the world, we continue to see governments harass, arrest, threaten, jail, and kill individuals simply for seeking to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs. This Administration is committed to supporting every individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief, including by confronting and combating violators and abusers of this human right," he added.

Nigeria, which was placed on the list last December under former President Donald Trump, was removed. Blinken is expected to visit the west African nation later this week amid his ongoing diplomatic tour of the continent.

Separately, the State Department said Algeria, Comoros, Cuba and Nicaragua have been added to a religious freedom watch list.

And al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, Daesh/ISIS, Daesh/SIS-Greater Sahara, Daesh/ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimin and the Taliban were listed as entities of particular concern.

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