World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


2013 International Religious Freedom Report

2013 International Religious Freedom Report


July 28, 2014


On July 28, 2014, Secretary Kerry submitted the 2013 International Religious Freedom Report to the United States Congress. The reports, now in their 16th edition, are available on State.gov and HumanRights.gov.

Mandated by Congress, the International Religious Freedom Reports help inform U.S. government policy and foreign assistance. They also serve as a reference for other governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, legal professionals, scholars, interested citizens, and journalists.

Key Developments
In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of members of religious communities in recent memory. In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. In conflict zones, mass displacement has become all too common. Around the world, individuals were subjected to discrimination, violence and abuse, perpetrated and sanctioned violence for simply exercising their faith, identifying with a certain religion, or choosing not to believe in a higher deity at all.

Government Repression of Religious Freedom
Governments from all regions subjected members of religious groups to repressive policies, discriminatory laws, disenfranchisement, and discriminatory application of laws. These governmental actions not only infringed on freedom of religion themselves; they often created a permissive environment for broader human rights abuses. Restrictive policies included laws criminalizing religious activities and expression, prohibitions on conversion or proselytizing, blasphemy laws, and stringent registration requirements for religious organizations.

Repression of fundamental freedoms creates a more fertile environment for violent extremism to take hold, as people denied their right to practice their beliefs freely become more alienated and resentful and vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups. The actions of violent extremist groups led some governments to invoke draconian anti-extremism laws and impose restrictions that increasingly infringed on the religious freedoms of members of religious minorities.

Discrimination, Impunity and Displacement of Religious Minorities
The failure of many governments to combat religiously motivated discrimination creates an environment that emboldens violent and discriminatory actions by some in the society. In many instances, governments increasingly failed to investigate or prosecute crimes targeting members of religious minority groups, creating a climate of impunity.

Members of minority religious communities were disproportionately affected by violence, discrimination, and harassment. In many regions of the world, religious intolerance was linked to civil and economic strife and resulted in mass migration of members of religious minority communities throughout the year. In some of these areas, the outward migration of certain communities has the potential to change the demographics of entire regions permanently.

Countries of Particular Concern
Governments that engage in or tolerate particularly severe violations of religious freedom are designated by the Secretary of State (under authority delegated by the President) as "Countries of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The International Religious Freedom Act defines particularly severe violations of religious freedom as systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, abduction or clandestine detention of persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons based on religion.

Today, the Secretary announced the following countries as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC): Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan has been designated a CPC for the first time this year.

Read the Report at state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/ and HumanRights.gov/reports.

While marking International Religious Freedom Day on October 27, 2013, Secretary Kerry stressed that “nations that protect this fundamental freedom will have the partnership of the United States and the abiding commitment of the American people as we seek to advance freedom of religion worldwide.” It is our hope that this year’s report not only identifies the abuses, problems and violations, but also highlights areas for change, action, and accountability.

We invite governments, community groups, faith-based and secular organizations, students, activists, human rights defenders, change makers, and citizens to use this report to defend and advance international religious freedom, a universal right to which we are all entitled.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Vanuatu: Regenvanu Expects 50% Of People Struck By Pam To Be Homeless

Vanuatu Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu says more than 50 percent of those hit by super Cyclone Pam at the weekend are now homeless. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news