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Hello, 

Here is some light reading for you all during this quarantine period. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released the report of its findings for 2020. A video presentation of the committee's findings can be seen on their Youtube page. 

In 1998 the United States Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The IRFA authorized the establishment of an Office of International Religious Freedom and the USCIRF to advise the US Department of State in its IRFA granted obligation to designate a "Countries of Particular Concern" (CPC) threshold. These CPC's would be subject to punitive sanctions had they been found to violate human rights through "engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of religious freedom." This work has not been exclusive to the defense of members of religious communities, but of non-believers as well (e.g., "Prisoners of Belief: Individuals Jailed under Blasphemy Laws," 2014). 

The USCIRF regularly publishes reports (since 2000) and this year added a "Special Watch List" (SWL) tier below CPC designation (for systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations against religious liberty by state actors--or their unwillingness to intervene on behalf of victims against nonstate actors). The US Department of State also included nine nonstate actors under a designation of "Entities of Particular Concern."
  • CPC Designees for 2020: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
  • SWL Designees: Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.
  • EPC Designees: Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban

The report is worth a read. 

Have a great week. Wash your hands, don't touch your face, wear a mask, and stay safe. 


 
sincerely, 



Jason Frye, CEO
Secular Policy Institute                             
 
 
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Sign On Letter

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