Report: Usual suspects thwart religious liberty

China, Burma, North Korea and others

The State Department’s annual report on the status of religious freedom worldwide is out, and its chief villains have familiar faces. The report says China, Burma and North Korea remain among the world’s most egregious and systematic violators of religious liberty.

Meanwhile, several nations with close ties to the United States—such as Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Israel—continue to repress their citizens’ religious freedom either through overt legal oppression or through unequal enforcement of laws that, on paper, protect religious freedom.

Introducing the report at a State Department press conference December 18, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage noted that “all Americans stand united in our freedom of belief.” The department in its fifth annual report “wanted to focus on the plight of people who are persecuted.”


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