Two countries are accused of being the worst offenders for failing to extend religious freedom.

By August 25, 2005

USA (MNN) — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is calling for the Central Asian nations of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to be ranked among the worst offenders against religious freedom in the world when the State Department next releases its annual report on religious freedom.

“Turkmenistan, among the most repressive states in the world today, allows virtually no independent religious activity,” says a USCIRF statement released recently. “The government of Uzbekistan places strict restrictions on religious practice and continues to crack down harshly on individuals and groups that operate outside of government strictures.”

The commission, established by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, gives religious freedom a more prominent place in U.S. foreign policy. It monitors the status of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief globally and makes recommendations to the president, the Secretary of State and Congress as to how the U.S. government can further the protection and promotion of religious freedom and related human rights in its relations with other countries.

HCJB World Radio works in partnership with Back to the Bible to air Christian programs in the Turkmen language. Broadcasts began in 2001 and have been aired daily since 2003. HCJB World Radio also airs weekly Uzbek programs from an AM station outside the country.

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