International Religious Freedom Report 2022:
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended for the second year in the row to put India on a list (Countries of Particular Concern or CPCs) for the worst violations of religious freedoms in 2021.
- Earlier, the US State Department released a strong and critical report on human rights in India in 2021.
The Report’s primary focus is on two groups of countries:
- Country of Particular Concern (CPC): It is a designation by the US Secretary of State of a nation engaged in severe violations of religious freedom under IRFA (International Religious Freedom Act of 1998).
- Special Watch List: A “Special Watch List” country is one that is deemed not to meet all the CPC criteria but engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom.
The Report also includes USCIRF’s recommendations of violent nonstate actors for designation by the US State Department as Entities of Particular Concern (EPCs), under International Review of Financial Analysis (IRFA).
- The report also highlights important global developments and trends related to religious freedom during 2021—including in countries that do not meet the criteria for CPC or SWL recommendations.
- These include the Covid-19 pandemic and religious freedom, blasphemy and hate speech law enforcement, transnational repression, religious intolerance in Europe, deteriorating religious freedom conditions in South Asia, and political upheaval that raises religious freedom concerns.
- It is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
- It is an advisory body to the US Congress.
- USCIRF’s 2022 Annual Report provides recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad.
- It is Headquartered in Washington DC.
- Established by the US government in 1998 after the inaction of the International Religious Freedom Act, recommendations of USCIRF are non-binding on the state department.
- Traditionally, India does not recognize the view of USCIRF.