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U.S. designates N. Korea as state violator of religious freedom for 21st consecutive year

Diplomacy 03:07 December 03, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Friday designated North Korea along with 11 other countries as countries of particular concern for violations of religious freedom.

It marks the 21st consecutive year the U.S. has designated North Korea as a state violator of religious freedom.

"I am announcing designations against Burma, the People's Republic of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a released statement.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

Blinken also placed four countries -- Algeria, the Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam -- on the Special Watch List for "engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom," while designating nine non-state actors, including Boko Haram and the Houthis, as Entities of Particular Concern.

"Our announcement of these designations is in keeping with our values and interests to protect national security and to advance human rights around the globe," said Blinken.

"We will continue to carefully monitor the status of freedom of religion or belief in every country around the world and advocate for those facing religious persecution or discrimination," he added.


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