The United States on Friday designated countries including China, Iran and Russia as countries of particular concern under religious freedom laws that have committed serious violations.
US Secretary of State Antony Brinken said in a statement that countries designated as countries of particular concern, including North Korea and Myanmar, have committed or tolerated serious violations of religious freedom. .
“All over the world, governments and non-state actors are harassing, threatening, imprisoning and killing individuals,” Brinken said in a statement.
“The United States will not sit on the sidelines in the face of these abuses.”
He added that Washington welcomes the opportunity to meet with all governments to outline concrete steps for delisting.
Washington is stepping up pressure on Iran over a brutal crackdown on protesters. Women waved and burned their headscarves, which are required under Iran’s conservative dress code, during a demonstration marking one of the most daring challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
More than 300 people have been killed so far and 14,000 people have been arrested during the protests, according to the United Nations.
UN experts also called on Iran to end the persecution and harassment of religious minorities and stop using religion to restrict the exercise of fundamental rights.
The Baha’i community is one of the most persecuted religious minorities in Iran and has seen a significant increase in arrests and targeting this year. This is what UN experts call part of a broader policy of targeting dissenting beliefs and religious practices, including Christian converts and atheists.
Reported by Reuters