Dwight Bashir, who is Deputy Director for Policy and Research at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) discusses the 2013 annual report released by his office that looks at the state of religious freedom across the world.
A press release accompanying the report gives the highlights:
The 2013 Annual Report recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate the following eight nations as “countries of particular concern” or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan. USCIRF finds that seven other countries meet the CPC threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
USCIRF also announced the placement of eight nations on its Tier 2 List for 2013. The Tier 2 category replaces the Watch List designation USCIRF previously used. These nations are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos and Russia. USCIRF found the violations these governments engage in or tolerate are particularly severe, and meet at least one criterion, but not all, of IRFA’s three-fold “systematic, ongoing, egregious” CPC standard.
This report focuses more on government restrictions on religion. But social hostilities based on religion are also important factors and a recent Pew survey reports on a rising tide of restrictions on religion as a result of both government actions as well as social hostilities.