US Commission for International Religious Freedom calls for sanctions on India

The USCIRF recommended 14 other countries for designation as CPCs, including India, Pakistan, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and others.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) advised that India should be declared as a ‘country of particular concern’ or CPC. This was done because the country has been ‘engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violation, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)’.

It has been the harshest rating India has gotten since 2004. However, the USCIRF also pushed for imposing sanctions on the Indian government, who is responsible for violations of religious liberty.

It also advised that the US Embassy and consulates’ engagement with religious communities, police, and local officials in India should be increased, especially in areas impacted by religiously-motivated hate.

The agency called for increasing US partnership with India’s law enforcement agencies to help protect minorities, areas of worship, and other holy sites. To create a monitoring and warning system in partnership with the police to confront religious-based hate crimes, the USCIRF proposed allocating funds to the civil society in India.

It was suggested that the US Congress continues to hold hearings for highlighting religious freedom conditions in India.

The report read that in December of 2019, the Indian parliament passed the CAA, treating non-Muslims migrants in India as refugees fleeing religious persecution. It also noted how India stripped Jammu and Kashmir off of its autonomy and imposed armed lockdown.

The commission observed that when the US officials highlighted concerns over religious freedom violation going on in India, it turned a deaf ear to it. So, when US Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback visited India, the government continued to reject the State Department and USCIRF’s report on the violations going on in the country.

‘’The steepest and most alarming deterioration of religious freedom conditions was in India, the world’s largest democracy’’, said USCIRF Vice Chair Nadine Maenza.

She further added that India’s CAA bill was disturbing, as it gave citizenship to newcomers from other religions, except Muslims.

The USCIRF recommended 14 other countries for designation as CPCs, including India, Pakistan, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and others.

The 2020 Annual Report also suggests 15 countries be put on the State Department’s Special Watch List (SWL) for serious violations.

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