Donald Trump’s administration has once again proved its skewed behavioiur towards Pakistan by adding Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom, ramping up pressure over its treatment of minorities.
State Secretary Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among the “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally-mandated annual report, which means that the US government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations. Nine countries, including China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, remained for another year on the list of Countries of Particular Concern. Only one country — Uzbekistan — was removed from the list but is still on watch.
“The countries were added to the list under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom”, said a statement from the US Department of State. “In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests, or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs. The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression,” Secretary Pompeo said in the statement.
“These designations are aimed at improving the lives of individuals and the broader success of their societies. I recognize that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; I welcome such initiatives and look forward to continuing the dialogue,” he added.
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17 November, 2019