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US designates China, Iran, Russia as international locations of concern underneath Spiritual Freedom Act

WASHINGTON: The US on Friday designated China, Iran and Russia, amongst others, as international locations of explicit concern underneath the Spiritual Freedom Act over extreme violations, US secretary of state Antony Blinken stated.
Blinken in a press release stated these designated as international locations of explicit concern – which additionally embody North Korea and Myanmar – engaged in or tolerated extreme violations of non secular freedom.
Algeria, the Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam have been positioned on the watch listing.
A number of teams, together with the Kremlin-aligned Wagner Group, a personal paramilitary group that’s lively in Syria, Africa and Ukraine, have been additionally designated as entities of explicit concern. The Wagner group was designated over its actions within the Central African Republic, Blinken stated.
“Around the globe, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill people on account of their beliefs,” Blinken stated within the assertion.
“The US is not going to stand by within the face of those abuses.”
He added that Washington would welcome the chance to satisfy with all governments to stipulate concrete steps for removing from the lists.
Washington has elevated strain on Iran over the brutal crackdown on protesters. Ladies have waved and burned headscarves – obligatory underneath Iran’s conservative costume codes – through the demonstrations that mark one of many boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic because the 1979 revolution.
The United Nations says greater than 300 individuals have been killed thus far and 14,000 arrested in protests that started after the Sept. 16 loss of life in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish girl Mahsa Amini after she was detained for “inappropriate apparel.”
United Nations consultants have additionally referred to as on majority Shi’ite Muslim Iran to cease persecution and harassment of non secular minorities and finish using faith to curtail the train of elementary rights.
The Baha’i neighborhood is among the many most severely persecuted spiritual minorities in Iran, with a marked improve in arrests and concentrating on this 12 months, a part of what the UN consultants referred to as broader coverage of concentrating on dissenting beliefs or spiritual practices, together with Christian converts and atheists.
The US has expressed grave considerations about human rights within the western Chinese language area of Xinjiang, which is dwelling to 10 million Uyghurs.
Rights teams and Western governments have lengthy accused Beijing of abuses in opposition to the primarily Muslim ethnic minority, together with pressured labor in internment camps.
The US has accused China of genocide. Beijing vigorously denies any abuses.
The opposite international locations designated as international locations of explicit concern have been Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The US Spiritual Freedom Act of 1998 requires the president – who assigns the perform to the secretary of state – to designate as international locations of explicit concern states which might be deemed to violate spiritual freedom on a scientific and ongoing foundation.
The act offers Blinken a spread of coverage responses, together with sanctions or waivers, however they aren’t automated.

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