Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, May 04, 2007

Iraq placed on U.S. watch list for gross violations of religious freedom

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom added Iraq to its “watch list” on Wednesday due to the severe deterioration of religious freedom in the country, The Associated Press reported the same day.

The commission said that the Iraqi government holds substantial responsibility for the escalation of sectarian violence, even though militias and terrorist groups perpetrate a large portion of the attacks. Additionally, Sunni and Shiites Muslims, as well as adherents of minority faiths, are subject to abuse by state security forces and armed Shia factions with ties with the government. The Iraqi government’s failure to address religiously based attacks, despite considerable security assistance from U.S.-led coalition forces, “could ultimately constitute tolerance of egregious, ongoing and systematic violations of religious freedom,” the report said.

As a watch list country, Iraq will be recommended for “country of particular concern” status next year if the situation is not remedied. This designation would expose Iraq to the possibility of U.S. sanctions.

For the full article, click here.


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