Editoiral: Red flag

The United States came out with its ‘Religious Freedom Designations’ on Wednesday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in a statement that ten nations, including Pakistan and China were designated ‘countries of particular concern’.

‘I am designating Burma (Myanmar), the People’s Republic of China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,’ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Blinken also announced to place Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.

‘In far too many places around the world, we continue to see governments harass, arrest, threaten, jail and kill individuals simply for seeking to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs. This administration is committed to supporting every individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief, including by confronting and combating violators and abusers of this human right,’ Secretary Blinken said. The Taliban has been designated as one of the ‘entities of particular concern’ along with al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimin.

Asserting that the United States will not waiver in its commitment to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all and in every country, Blinken said the challenges to religious freedom in the world today are structural, systemic, and deeply entrenched.

‘They exist in every country. They demand sustained global commitment from all who are unwilling to accept hatred, intolerance, and persecution as the status quo. They require the international community’s urgent attention’, he said and added that the United States will continue to press all governments to remedy the shortcomings in their laws and practices, and to promote accountability for those responsible for abuses.

Ensuring peace across the world should be the top priority of developed and developing nations.


NT Bureau