July-August 2015 – Persecution in the past year has been described as reaching the worst level in modern times, largely because of attacks on Christians fueled by groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom documented religious freedom violations in 33 countries in its 2015 Annual Report, released on April 30.
USCIRF chair Dr. Karen Lantos Swett stated, “Very grave assaults on fundamental religious freedom [have reached] unprecedented levels particularly in the Middle East with the violent attacks by ISIS. … All nations should care about abuses beyond their borders not only for humanitarian reasons but because what goes on in other nations rarely remains there.”
As an advisory body to the federal government, USCIRF recommended the State Department designate eight new nations as “countries of particular concern” for severe violations of religious freedom.
The 17 nations of concern this year include: (1) Central African Republic, (2) Egypt, (3) Iraq, (4) Nigeria, (5) Pakistan, (6) Syria, (7) Tajikistan, (8) Vietnam, (9) Burma, (10) China, (11) Eritrea, (12) Iran, (13) North Korea, (14) Saudi Arabia, (15) Sudan, (16) Turkmenistan, (17) Uzbekistan.
onenewsnow.com, 5/14/15; uscirf.gov, 4/30/15