Two USCIRF recommendations worth following

By May 4, 2023

International (MNN) — Questions and concerns follow on the heels of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report released earlier this week.

“The real surprise is that Afghanistan is not already on the Country of Particular Concern (CPC) list,” Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs USA says.

“I don’t think anyone looks at Afghanistan says, ‘Oh, yeah, they’re making progress on religious freedom.’”

Notably, “this (USCIRF list) runs about a year behind,” Nettleton clarifies, and “last year they could say, ‘Well, the Taliban just took over.’ But I hope this year that Afghanistan will be added to the CPC list.”

Support Christians in Afghanistan through VOM USA.

India is another recommendation worth following. On Tuesday, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson rejected the USCIRF report and its criticisms.

“India is very concerned about this. There are multiple stories in the Indian press; it gets a lot of attention,” Nettleton says.

(Photo courtesy of VOM USA)

The State Department uses USCIRF recommendations to make CPC designations, often leading to sanctions. Will India’s push-back be enough to sway decision-makers in the State Department? Only time will tell.

Nettleton says State Department officials evaluate the issue from multiple angles before making a final decision. “It’s like, ‘We’ve got to protect our trade relationships; how much can we afford to offend these countries?’” he explains.

“We have a lot of trade with India, [and] we want India to help us counter the influence of China.”

Today on the U.S. National Day of Prayer, ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage persecuted Christians worldwide. Pray for wisdom for U.S. government officials as they make foreign affairs decisions based on USCIRF information.

“It’s a surprise every year when the State Department doesn’t put India on the CPC list because we know it’s getting worse. We know more and more Christians are facing persecution; other religious minorities are facing persecution,” Nettleton says.



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