The Trump administration on Monday named China, Nigeria and Iran to the list of countries that engage in violating or allowing violations of religious freedom within their borders — part of U.S. efforts to end religious persecution around the world.
The State Department announced that the three countries would be named as “Countries of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Along with Burma, Eritrea, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the countries are accused of engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to Fox News’ Guy Benson, said that President Trump “has made it an expectation that every country will honor the fundamental right that every human being has by nature of their dignity as a human being to practice their faith, or if they choose not to practice one, so be it, but that won’t be imposed upon by anyone’s government.”
“And so, we do our best through multiple tools to ensure that there is maximal religious freedom for every individual around the world,” he said.
The administration has taken a tough stance on China in particular, targeting its persecutions in Hong Kong and of religious minorities in the Xinjiang region. Pompeo highlighted China’s destruction of churches and the denial of religious rights.
“But there are a number of countries around the world that fall into this category, and in each case, the United States does its best to improve the opportunity for individuals to observe their own faith,” he said.
Over the summer, the U.S. sanctioned multiple Chinese officials for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Separately, the agency said it is placing four countries, including Cuba and Russia on a separate “watch list” for governments engaging in or tolerating “severe violations of religious freedom.”
In addition, it has placed a number of radical and terrorist groups, including ISIS-Greater Sahara, Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab as “entities of particular concern” under the 2016 Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act.
Source » foxnews