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'Violations are Increasing': USCIRF Releases Annual Religious Freedom Report

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The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report Monday that flags countries around the world that are violating religious freedom in a systematic, ongoing, and egregious manner.  

Officials in the bipartisan government agency hope the United States takes action against the countries on this year's list to improve the conditions of religious freedom worldwide. 

The cover of this year's report features the face of the late Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman killed last year by Iran's morality police for violating the country's headscarf law. This is just one of many examples where religious freedom is under attack around the world.

"These violations do not go unnoticed," declared U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a video message highlighting the report's release. 

slider img 2The USCIRF's annual report not only tracks incidents in order to hold violators accountable, but it also garners bipartisan support. 

"Make no mistake, the freedom of worship is a bedrock human right," declared U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "Indeed it is a liberty that transcends borders and when it comes under threat the United States has a sacred duty to speak out."

This year's recommendations include keeping 12 countries of particular concern (CPCs) on the list.  They include repeat offenders such as Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Five new countries were also put on notice: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Syria, and Vietnam.

"The violations are increasing," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the USCIRF's vice chair told CBN News. "The threats, detentions, and worse are increasing worldwide."

While this effort is international in scope, there's also growing concern about what's happening in the U.S.

"This is a very difficult time for religious freedom all over the globe, including here in the United States, although that's outside the realm of our mandate," continued Cooper. "God is the number one enemy, a religious belief is the number one enemy, in any system that demands a total fealty to the dictators and the regimes that are there."

USCIRF officials claim North Korea is likely the country where Christians face the most severe persecution in the whole world. 

Cooper told CBN News the state of religious freedom around the world is very grim.

"Religion is under assault, religious freedom is something that is denied by many governments," he said. 

The USCIRF hopes the president, State Department, and Congress will take action to address the global religious freedom violations, believing every country named in the report is watching to see how the U.S. will respond. 

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About The Author


Abigail Robertson serves as the White House Correspondent for CBN News, where she has worked since 2015. As a reporter, Abigail covers stories from a Christian perspective on American politics and the news of the day. Before her role at the White House, Abigail covered Capitol Hill, where she interviewed notable lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. During her time on the Hill, Abigail loved highlighting how God is moving in the House and Senate by covering different ministries on Capitol Hill and sharing lawmakers’ testimonies and