WASHINGTON (BP) – Governments and societies throughout the world continue to violate religious freedom, but progress was made in some countries during the last year, U.S. State Department officials said Thursday (June 2) upon the release of an annual report.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and ambassador-at-large Rashad Hussain offered their assessments of the global state of the right to believe and practice faith in presenting the State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom. The report, which is required each year by a 1998 law, evaluated the condition of religious liberty in nearly 200 countries and territories.
“In many parts of the world, governments are failing to respect their citizens’ basic rights,” Blinken said, adding all societies “must do more to combat rising forms of hate, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment.”
Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), China, Eritrea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are examples of countries where religious freedom is violated, Blinken told reporters at a briefing. Also, the rights of religious minorities “are under threat” in such countries as India, Nigeria and Vietnam, he said.
Yet, Iraq, Morocco, Taiwan and Timor-Leste are among the countries where “notable progress” was achieved, Blinken said.
Hussain, who received Senate confirmation in December 2021 as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said, “From Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia; Jews in Europe; Baha’is in Iran; Christians in North Korea, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia; Muslims in Burma and China; Catholics in Nicaragua; and atheists and humanists around the world, no community has been immune from these abuses.”
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Source: Baptist Press