U.S. Designates 12 Nations, Including North Korea and China, as Concerns for Religious Freedom
The U.S. government has designated North Korea and 11 other countries, including China, as Countries of Particular Concern for religious freedom.
On the 4th, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that one of the foundational aspects of U.S. foreign policy is promoting freedom of religion and belief.
The countries include North Korea, China, Russia, Myanmar, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. North Korea has been included in the Countries of Particular Concern list for 22 consecutive years.
The U.S. has been assessing religious freedom in countries worldwide annually since the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998. Countries where freedom of religion is not guaranteed are designated as Countries of Particular Concern or Countries of Particular Watch.
Secretary Blinken designated Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, Comoros, and Vietnam as Countries of Particular Watch that are involved in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom. Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Houthi, Islamic State (IS), and Al-Qaeda were listed as Entities of Particular Concern.
He highlighted that serious violations of religious freedom are occurring even in countries not featured on the designated list, and he urged governments globally to cease attacks on religious minority groups.
By. Ju Hae Yoon