Religious freedom in India ‘significantly worsened’: US panel

Tags: National

In its 2022 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has said that the state of religious freedom in India has reached a "significantly worse" state than last year.

  • It has recommended that India be designated a 'Country of Special Concern' (CPC), i.e. the category of the worst performing governments on religious freedom criteria.

  • What is the USCIRF?

  • It is an independent, bipartisan body created by the US International Religious Freedom Act, 1998 (IRFA). 

  • It has the authority to monitor religious freedom violations globally and make policy recommendations.

  • It is an entity formed by Congress and not an NGO or advocacy organisation.

  • It is led by nine part-time commissioners appointed by its President. 

  • Meaning of 'Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) 

  • IRFA requires the USCIRF to annually identify countries that qualify for the CPC designation.

  • According to the IRFA, CPCs are countries whose governments engage in or tolerate "particularly serious violations" of religious freedom.

  • Such freedom is defined as a serious violation of the internationally recognized right to freedom of religion.

  • The other designation, for less serious violations, is the Special Watch List (SWL).

  • Other countries who have been designated as CPCs

  • For 2022, a total of 15 countries have been recommended for the CPC designation, based on religious freedom in 2021.

  • They are India, Pakistan, Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam.

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