US adds Russia to religious freedom blacklist

The United States announced Wednesday that it has added Russia to its blacklist of countries of “special interest” regarding religious freedom.

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On the other hand, Nigeria, which was on this list last year, was removed from the list, according to a statement issued by the US diplomatic chief Anthony Blinken who is scheduled to visit this African country this week.

The other countries designated for “committing or tolerating serious, systematic and persistent violations of religious freedom” are the same in 2020: Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Algeria, Comoros, Cuba and Nicaragua were placed on the intermediate list of “observer” countries.

“The United States will not be ashamed of its commitment to defend freedom of religion or belief for everyone and in every country,” said Anthony Blinken. “In many places around the world, we still see governments harassing, arresting, threatening, detaining and killing people just for wanting to live their lives according to their beliefs.

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