Religious freedom leaders applauded the U.S. State Department’s recent re-designation of nine countries – and the inclusion of one more – as the worst situations for religious freedom, but urged the agency to do more.
After the State Department on April 14 added Tajikistan to its “Country of Particular Concern” list, keeping the nine countries already on the list, the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said it “welcomes the designation of these ten countries.”
The countries already on the list were Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and Sudan.
A “country of particular concern” is a term used by the State Department to denote the countries that present the worst situations for religious freedom in the world. Either these governments “engage in” or “tolerate” “severe violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing and egregious,” USCIRF explained in its 2015 annual report.