USCIRF Releases 2006 List of Religious Freedom Violators

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2006 recommendations for ‘‘countries of particular concern,’’ or CPCs, on Wednesday that included eight countries on the previous year’s list.

The new list was submitted to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and recommended the following countries for CPC designation for 2006: Burma, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. CPC designation is given to countries for ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.

The Commission also created a Watch List for countries that are not at the level of CPC designation but “require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the governments.” This year, the Commission’s Watch List added Afghanistan to the list with Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

In addition, the Commission is closely monitoring the situations in India, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Iraq although these countries do not appear on the Watch List.

Along with the CPC recommendations and Watch List, the Commission also released its 2006 Annual Report with recommendations on U.S. policy for the President, Secretary of State, and Congress for CPCs and countries where the United States can help to promote freedom of religion or belief.