Religious freedom is under attack in numerous places around the world, but it is especially bad in 17 countries, according to a report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Nine of these countries have already been singled out by the State Department as “countries of particular concern” (CPC): Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The commission recommends that an additional eight countries be added to this CPC list: the Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
Another 10 countries were listed by USCIRF as “Tier 2” countries, where violations are serious but not as bad as in CPC countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Turkey.
The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act requires the U.S. government to designate as a CPC any country whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing and egregious.