Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, May 05, 2008

Commission on International Religious Freedom names countries of particular concern

The United States Commission on International Religious freedom released its 2008 annual report on May 2, presenting policy recommendations for the President, Secretary of State and Congress with regard to “countries of particular concern” (CPCs).

The Commission’s recommendations for CPC designation in 2008 are Burma, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

While most of these recommendations are in line with current policy, the inclusion of Vietnam contradicts the State Department’s removal of its official CPC status in 2006. While recognizing that there have been some significant improvements, the Commission asserts that “the ongoing and serious problems faced by many of Vietnam’s religious communities, the uneven pace of reforms meant to improve the situation, the continued detention of religious prisoners of concern, and what can only be seen as a deteriorating human rights situation overall” merit the naming of Vietnam as a country of particular concern in 2008.

The report also recommends a Watch List of countries where conditions do not merit CPC status but still require close monitoring. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria are all on the list. Iraq is also mentioned as causing serious concern.

To read the full report, click here.


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