The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) this week released its 2017 report on the state of religious freedom around the globe. USCIRF, an independent federal commission, found that religious persecution is growing in frequency and severity. Focusing in on areas where religious liberty violations are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious,” the watchdog institution is urging the U.S. State Department to designate a number of nations as “countries of particular concern.”
It’s especially noteworthy that USCIRF thinks Russia should be added to the list of worst offenders that includes nations like China, Iran, and North Korea. In part, the commission is basing this decision on Russia’s 2016 “anti-extremism” law, which, as NRB has explained, is a real threat to evangelical Christians, among others.
Responding to this report, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a religious liberty champion, said, “This report is further proof that the basic human right of freedom of religion is severely violated in many areas around the world. The report also shows the need to ensure that religious freedom is incorporated into the foreign policy of the United States.” One practical step he urged was the appointment of a new U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: April 28, 2017