Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted deteriorating circumstances in some of the most oppressive countries in the world in the State Department’s most recent evaluation of religious freedom globally. In his speech on Monday, he again emphasized recent alarming developments.
Blinken made a comment about how governments all across the world continue to persecute religious minorities. He brought up a number of oppressive practices, such as unauthorized monitoring, torture, violent crimes, and so-called re-education camps.
State Department Report: Religious Freedom Globally Under Siege, China Named as Key Abuser
According to the article in ABC News, the Uyghur Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang province has been subjected to atrocities, which the Secretary highlighted as a particularly serious case. The U.S. administration has previously referred to Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide and crimes against humanity. It was confirmed by the State Department’s report, which covered the events of 2022, that this persecution had continued unabatedly.
The report also highlighted the Chinese Communist Party’s strong and pervasive crackdown on religious freedom throughout the year. The poll concluded that there were between a few thousand and possibly more than 10,000 people imprisoned because of their religious convictions, despite the lack of accurate statistics. Although evidences are evident, the chinese officials continued to deny the accuses. In an effort to justify its actions against the Uyghur minority, they have claimed that they are vital counterterrorism measures.
In another source, The Print, Blinken also brought up Iran’s Islamic theocracy, known for its stringent regulations and heavy punishments for infractions, as well as the recent upsurge in protests following the death of a teen last September.
Blinken drew attention to the ongoing peaceful demonstrations in Iran, which were mostly led by young women fighting for their human rights, especially the freedom to practice their religion. He identified Masa Amini’s death as the catalyst for these protests after the so-called morality police detained her for not wearing her hijab all the way around when she was arrested.
The State Department’s report also outlined widespread violations of religious freedom carried out by Moscow, both inside of Russia and in the Ukrainian territory it occupies. Despite the negative outlook in many areas, Blinken pointed out that the report also contained examples of advancement all across the world. He cited the construction of offices in numerous nations geared at countering Islamophobia and antisemitism, as well as Belgium’s official acknowledgment of its Buddhist minority, Brazilian lawmakers’ enshrinement of guarantees for the religious freedom of Afro-Brazilian indigenous communities, and Belgium’s formal recognition of its Buddhist minority.
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The State Department’s Annual International Religious Freedom Report
The Department of State’s yearly report to Congress, the International Religious Freedom Report, thoroughly analyses worldwide religious freedom. According to the website of the United States Department of State, research on international religious freedom was done for a statute from 1998. This study was sponsored and was supported to be made possible by a large number of people, including representatives from American embassies, government employees, nonprofit organizations, journalists, and academic specialists.
The report pulls from a wide range of sources to present the most accurate picture of religious freedom globally. Initial drafts from embassies are examined and supplemented by the Office of International Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. This essential knowledge influences American policy and supports global initiatives to uphold human rights and religious freedom.
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