The US State Department has designated Pakistan a “country of particular concern” since 2018 for its record on religious freedom violations.
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The countries of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan remain on list.
The bipartisan bill, designed to strengthen the U.S. response to religious persecution, could assist the new administration in refocusing America’s foreign-policy priorities.
While the U.S. debates the integrity of the refugee program vs. the risks, the situation of Syrian refugees grows more desperate in countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, which can no longer sustain them.
The plight of 20 Chaldean Catholics raises questions about whether the Obama administration is responding inadequately to the plight of Iraqi Christian refugees.
A State Department official declined comment, citing confidentiality rules, but a congressional critic is now investigating the decision.
As he was sworn in on Feb. 20, Rabbi David Saperstein emphasized the ‘fierce urgency’ of responding to international religious persecution.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin and John Kerry reportedly discussed tensions in the Middle East and the possible closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.