U.S. AGENCY QUERIES BLINKEN FOR OMITTING NIGERIA AS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIOLATOR

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said it found it unexplainable that the U.S. Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC).

Rather, the state department treated Nigeria as a country with no severe religious freedom violations.

“USCIRF is disappointed that the State Department did not adopt our recommendations in designating the countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza in a statement Wednesday night.

“While the State Department took steps forward on some designations, USCIRF is especially displeased with the removal of Nigeria from its CPC designation, where it was rightfully placed last year, as well as the omission of India, Syria, and Vietnam.

“We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting.”

Part of the statement reads;

Pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), the countries the State Department designated as CPCs are Burma, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, all besides Russia previously had been designated.

USCIRF recommended CPC designation for all 10 in its 2021 Annual Report and also recommended that India, Nigeria, Syria, and Vietnam be designated as CPCs.

The State Department placed on its “Special Watch List” (SWL) Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

USCIRF recommended in its 2021 Annual Report that Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan also be placed on the SWL.

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