Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent bi-partisan commission, has released its 2021 annual report.
Highlights of the report:
The report designated 14 countries as “countries of particular concern (CPCs)” as “their governments are engaged in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” This includes India.
Observations made about religious freedom in India by USCIRF:
- This year, USCIRF said that religious freedom conditions in India “continued their negative trajectory”.
- The government promoted Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
- It particularly noted the passage of the “religiously discriminatory” Citizenship Amendment Act.
- The report indicated that there was seeming police complicity in the Delhi riots.
- Further, the report alleged that “government action including the acquittal of all individuals accused of demolishing the Babri Masjid mosque—as well as government inaction to address religious violence contributed to a culture of impunity for those promulgating hate and violence toward religious minorities.
Recommendations made by USCIRF:
- The administration should impose targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’.
- It should promote inter-faith dialogue and the rights of all communities at bilateral and multilateral forums “such as the ministerial of the Quadrilateral [the Quad].”
- Raise issues in the U.S. – India bilateral space, such as by hosting hearings, writing letters and constituting Congressional delegations.
USCIRF recommendations are non-binding and the Trump administration had rejected the USCIRF recommendation to designate India a CPC last year, when it released its own determinations in December.
WHAT IS THE U. S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (USCIRF)?
- USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan, U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
- USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
What are CPCs?
CPC is designated to a nation guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. The term ‘particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.
- What is USCIRF?
- What are countries of particular concern?
- About the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- India’s position.
How successful Indian polity has been in maintaining communal harmony in the state? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.