US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that countries that protect religious freedom and human rights are peaceful, stable and prosperous and are America’s most reliable partners.
Image Credit source: PTI
In the matter of religious freedom, the US has described 12 countries including China, Iran, Russia and Pakistan as ‘countries of particular concern’. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that North Korea and Myanmar are also included in this list. Prior to the release of this list, groups such as the Indian American Muslim Council had pressurized Blinken to include India in this list of violations of religious freedom. But America has not included India in this list.
Foreign Minister Blinken released this list through a statement on Friday. The names of 12 countries including Russia, China, Iran are included in this list. These 12 countries include Myanmar, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Blinken said that all these 12 countries commit serious violations of religious freedom. Hence these have been designated as ‘countries of particular concern’ under the ‘International Religious Freedom Act of 1998’.
4 countries included in ‘special watch list’
Prior to the release of this list, organizations like the American Commission on International Religious Freedom and groups like the Indian American Muslim Council wanted to put pressure on Foreign Minister Blinken so that India could also be included in this list. Although America considered India as a country that does not violate religious freedom, therefore it was not included in this list. Apart from these 12 countries, there are some countries which have been kept in the ‘Special Watch List’ in case of violation of religious freedom. These countries include Algeria, Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam.
Names of many radical organizations also included
Apart from this, the US has also placed some radical organizations in the list of ‘special concern’. These include Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Houthi, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, ISIS-West Africa, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jama Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, Taliban and Wagner Group. The US Secretary of State said that these ‘special concern’ countries and organizations have been announced keeping in mind our values and interests to protect national security and advance human rights around the world. He said that countries that protect religious freedom and human rights are peaceful, stable and prosperous and are America’s most reliable partners.
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