India should be a ‘country of particular concern’ for religious freedom: USCIRF | India News – Times of India


WASHINGTON: A US Congress-constituted quasi-judicial body on Wednesday asked the Biden administration to designate four nations, including India, as “countries of particular concern”, alleging that religious freedom conditions there in 2020 continued their negative trajectory.
The annual report of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended the US state department to redesignate 10 nations as “countries of particular concern”. These are Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. USCIRF in its non-binding report also recommended the department add three more countries to the list: Russia, Syria and Vietnam.
“Designate India as a ‘country of particular concern’, for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act,” USCIRF said.
India has in the past said that the American body on international religious freedom has chosen to be guided only by its biases on a matter on which it has no locus standi. “Our position remains that we see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” India’s ministry of external affairs had said last year. The USCIRF report urges the state department to impose sanctions on individuals and entities in India responsible for violations of religious freedom.
However, the recommendations weren’t unanimous. USCIRF commissioner Johnnie Moore has officially registered his dissent. “Of all the countries in the world, India should not be a ‘country of particular concern’. It is governed by a pristine constitution,” Moore said.

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