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USCIRF Annual Report-2020

  • 29 Apr 2020
  • 3 min read

Why In News

Recently, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) in its 2020 report on religious freedom.

  • USCIRF has placed India alongside China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. India was categorised as a “Tier 2 country” in last year’s listing.
  • This is the first time since 2004 that India has been placed in the CPC category.

Key Points

  • Designation of the CPC is the top tier recommendation by the USCIRF when it comes to violation of international religious freedom. It is followed by Special Watch List Countries for severe violations.
  • Reasons:
  • Steps suggested to U.S:
    • The U.S. government should take stringent action against India under the “International Religious Freedom Act” (IRFA).
      • The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 was passed to promote religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States.
      • It aims to promote greater religious freedom in countries which engage in or tolerate violations of religious freedom, and to advocate on the behalf of individuals persecuted for their religious beliefs and activities in foreign countries.
    • To impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.
  • India’s stand: The Indian government has rejected the USCIRF report and termed it “biased and tendentious”.

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

  • USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
  • The USCIRF is also an advisory body to the US Congress.
  • USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
  • It is Headquartered at Washington DC.

Source: TH

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