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U.S. designates N. Korea for religious freedom violation for 22nd straight year

The United States on Thursday designated North Korea and 11 other countries as “countries of particular concern” for religious freedom violations, marking the 22nd consecutive year the North has appeared on the annually updated list.

Secretary of St…

The United States on Thursday designated North Korea and 11 other countries as "countries of particular concern" for religious freedom violations, marking the 22nd consecutive year the North has appeared on the annually updated list. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the list of the countries that he said have "engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom." The countries include Myanmar, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. "The challenges to religious freedom across the globe are structural, systemic, and deeply entrenched," Blinken said in a statement. "But with thoughtful, sustained commitment from those who are unwilling to accept hatred, intolerance, and persecution as the status quo, we will one day see a world where all people live with dignity and equality," he added. The secretary also designated Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam as "Special Watch List" c ountries for "engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom," he said. Since Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the U.S. government has annually assessed religious freedom situations in countries around the world and issued designations of countries of concern. Source: Yonhap News Agency