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May 13, 2005

US Commission cites religious persecution

From the USCIRF website:

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today announced its 2005 recommendations to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs.  The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate as CPCs those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief.  The Commission’s recommendations for 2005 include, for the first time, Uzbekistan.  In addition, the Commission reaffirmed its 2004 recommendations that the Secretary of State designate the following countries as CPCs:  Burma, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

The Bush Administration has failed to act on the Commissions 2004 recommendations. This would be the administration so many whine about being in the pocket of the so-called Religious Right.

I would also like to point out that out of the 11 nations listed as violators of religious rights, the majority, North Korea, Eritrea, Pakistan, Communist China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, sit on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Then there's this from the Associated Press:

Soldiers opened fire on thousands of protesters in eastern Uzbekistan on Friday after demonstrators stormed a jail to free 23 men accused of Islamic extremism. At least 50 people may have been killed in clashes with police and security forces, a protest leader said.

Protesters fell to the ground as the troops surrounded the crowd of some 4,000 and started shooting outside the city's administration building, which had been seized by the demonstrators. An Associated Press reporter saw 10 people who apparently had been hit, including at least one dead, and participants in the rally said two more had been killed....

Uzbekistan is a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, providing an air base to support military operations in neighboring Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But the closer ties with Washington have drawn increased international attention to widespread human rights abuses in the former Soviet republic, whose authoritarian government is seen as one of the most repressive in the region.

I expect the United Nations will be inviting Uzbekistan to join the HRC any day now.

Coverage (Uzbekistan riot): Captain's Quarters

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 13, 2005 02:55 PM

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Tracked on May 13, 2005 03:58 PM

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