USCIRF Recommends “Country of Particular Concern” Tag for India

What is the News? 
The USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) has recommended classifying India as a Country of Particular Concern(CPC). It is due to the worst violations of religious freedom in India in 2020.

Reasons for recommendations:
  • USCIRF has recommended India to be put on a Countries of Particular Concern(CPC) list because of:
    • Religiously Discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act
    • Seeming police complicity in the Delhi riots
    • During the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation and hateful rhetoric including from government officials targeted religious minorities.
    • Efforts to prohibit interfaith marriage – such as those in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh among other reasons.

Suggestions by USCIRF:

  • Firstly, the US administration should impose targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’.
  • Secondly, the US administration should promote interfaith dialogue and the rights of all communities at forums such as Quadrilateral [the Quad].
  • Thirdly, the US Congress should raise issues in the U.S-India bilateral space by hosting hearings, writing letters, and constituting Congressional delegations.
Other Recommendations of USCIRF:
  • Other new recommendations by USCIRF for the CPC list 2021 are Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
    • Moreover, countries already on the CPCs list and recommended by USCIRF for re-designation are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
  • Special Watch List Countries: Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia.
About Country of Particular Concern(CPC):
  • USCIRF recommends the Country of Particular Concern(CPC) designation to the US State Department. It recommends countries engaged in severe violations of religious freedom under IRFA (International Religious Freedom Act) 1998.
    • The IRFA 1998 promotes religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States.
  • Why is the country given the CPC designation? The countries that receive this designation either engage in or tolerate systematic, ongoing, glaring violations of religious freedom.
  • In addition to its CPC recommendations, the USCIRF established a Special Watch List countries. The list includes countries which does not fit in the CPC criterion, but still engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom.

Note: The recommendations given by the USCIRF are non-binding on the US Government.

Source: The Hindu


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