What can the international community do to protect religious freedom worldwide? The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released its 20th Annual Report.
The report analyzes the conditions in those countries considered by USCIRF to be the world’s worst violators along with policy recommendations on how they can be improved. The report focuses on a list of 28 countries, ranking them in different tiers of concern.
“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. With violence against believers on the rise around the world, it is vital that nations strongly promote religious freedom and highlight those countries where it is most imperiled. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s Annual Report continues to draw attention to the worst abusers against people of faith and even no faith, and stands as one of the key resources for advocates and governments. The international community cannot be silent where individuals are given death sentences for simply stating their beliefs, imprisoned in camps or killed because they belong to a disfavored religious group, or subject to persecution or discrimination in any other form based on their religion or beliefs. The Commission’s report is a call to action,”
Said Kelsey Zorzi, President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom at ADF international.
Persecution of Christians globally on the rise
Another report, recently commissioned by the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Jeremy Hunt, similarly shows an increase in global levels of persecution on religious grounds. The report focuses on the global persecution of Christians and is being conducted by the Bishop of Truro.
An interim report published at the beginning of May once again confirmed that Christians are the most persecuted religious group reaching levels as extreme as genocide and that persecution is “growing in scale and intensity.” According to the report, the reactions of the international community have been lacking and largely ineffective.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International said:
“We increasingly see Christians and other religious minorities face persecution and denial of their fundamental rights. All people have the right to freely choose and live out their faith. We urge all governments to uphold this right and do more to protect religious minorities and promote religious freedom.”
Watch Ryan Christopher, Senior Policy Officer for ADF International, speak to BBC Newsabout the report and the global increase in persecution of Christians.
Read the Bishop of Truro’s interim report here.