Several Mideast Countries Lead in Religious Freedom Violations

Several countries in the Middle East are ranked as religious freedom violators, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Several countries in the Middle East are ranked as religious freedom violators, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Tier I are “countries of particular concern (CPC)” where the government “tolerates severe violations of religious freedoms that are ongoing” as designated by the State Department and USCIRF.

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Countries like Burma, China, Iran, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan were listed in the Tier I CPC countries in the 209-page report. USCIRF also listed Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam. These countries don’t meet the criteria of the CPC, but are“countries where the violations engaged in or [were] tolerated by the government… and are characterized by at least one of the elements of the systematic, ongoing, and egregious.”

Tier 2 countries were listed as Burma, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and Russia where USCIRF is keeping a close watch on.

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“The government’s draft Citizens’ Rights Charter, released in November 2013, includes protections for the recognized minorities but excludes Baha’is from any legal protections,” the report stated.

The Baha’i community is the largest religious minority in Iran and has been subjected to severe human rights and religious freedom violations.

Iran was condemned in the report for its continual deterioration of human rights and religious freedom against religious minorities like Christian converts, and followers of Baha’i, who have been tortured and imprisoned. Iran has been on the CPC’s list since 1999.

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