According to religious news service, one of the nation’s leading—and official—defenders of religious freedom beseeched the Obama administration to add Pakistan and Syria to the list of nations that most violate religious rights.
On Thursday (May 22) before a congressional subcommittee Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said it makes little sense that the list compiled by the U.S. has hardly changed in a decade.
The congressionally chartered commission George heads recently encouraged that the State Department add eight nations to the eight already chosen as “countries of particular concern.” But among the recommended additions, he named Pakistan and Syria particularly for their deteriorating and troublesome record on religious liberty.
“Pakistan represents the worst religious freedom environment for a country not designated as a CPC,” said George, whose testament underlined Pakistan for continuing violence against Shia Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.
A renowned intellectual at Princeton University, George, spoke of the “horrible and tragic” sectarian battle in Syria which resulted in killing of thousands and displaced millions. Sunni versus Shia violence is widespread. Extremist religious groups, including al-Qaida affiliates, target Christians and other religious minorities.
George said, “Not every three years, not every five years . . . every administration needs to make these designation on a regular and, we believe, annual basis.” He labelled the list as a commanding tool to pressure countries to improve their human rights records.
A State Department spokeswoman told that it’s uncertain when the report and a new CPC list will be released.
Presently the State Department’s list includes Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. In addition to Pakistan and Syria, George’s commission wishes it to add Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and Vietnam.