Washington, D.C. – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released its 2020 Annual Report, documenting significant developments during 2019, including remarkable progress in Sudan and a sharp downward turn in India, and making recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad in 2020. “We are encouraged by the positive steps some governments took in 2019 – particularly two that engaged closely with USCIRF – to establish a safer environment for freedom of religion or belief,” USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said. “Sudan stands out, demonstrating that new leadership with the will to change can quickly bring tangible improvements. Uzbekistan also made important progress in 2019 toward fulfilling the commitments it made to allow religious groups greater freedom. Though other countries deteriorated, particularly India, we see international religious freedom on an upward trajectory overall.”USCIRF’s independence and bipartisanship enables it to unflinchingly identify threats to religious freedom around the world. In the 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends 14 countries to the State Department for designation as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) because their governments engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations.” These include nine that the State Department designated as CPCs in December 2019—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—as well as five others—India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam

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