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U.S. Designates Pakistan, Saudi Arabia As 'Countries Of Particular Concern'

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The U.S. Government has designated Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as "Countries of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated "systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom."

The State Department also placed Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan on a "Special Watch List" for governments that have engaged in or tolerated "severe violations of religious freedom."

Also, al-Nusra Front, al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa'ida, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban have been have been designated as "Entities of Particular Concern."

Announcing the designations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will not stand by as spectators while individuals continue to face harassment, arrests, or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs.

Pompeo made it clear that protecting and promoting international religious freedom is a top foreign policy priority of the Trump Administration.

He said these designations are aimed at improving the lives of individuals and the broader success of their societies.

"The United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations, and religious leaders to advance religious freedom around the world," Pompeo said.

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