Who are the world’s worst religious freedom violators? According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the following nations are “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
“It’s no coincidence that many of the nations we recommend to be designated as CPCs are among the most dangerous and destabilizing places on earth,” said USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo. “Nations that trample upon basic rights, including freedom of religion, provide fertile ground for poverty and insecurity, war and terror, and violent, radical movements and activities.”
“In addition, some of the countries we recommend for CPC designation maintain intricate webs of discriminatory rules, requirements and edicts that can impose tremendous burdens for members of religious minority communities, making it difficult for them to function and grow from one generation to the next, potentially threatening their existence,” added Leo.
In Egypt, the transitional government has failed to protect religious minorities, especially Coptic Christians, from violent attacks at a time when minority communities have been increasingly vulnerable.
“These governments too often stand idly by in the face of violent attacks against religious minorities and dissenting members of majority faiths,” says Leo. “Inseparable from freedom of expression and association, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief often is the first human right threatened by tyranny.”
Iran and China remain gross abusers of human rights and among the world’s worst religious freedom violators. Iran continues to detain, torture, and execute its citizens, and in the past year, Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims have been subjected to intensified attacks, harassment, detention, and imprisonment.
In China – the only CPC designee with a seat on the United Nations Security Council – conditions for Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims are the worst in decades and in the past year, and Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on Christians.
To read the full report, click here.
Do you agree with the countries included in this list? Are there any nations you might add?