The United States has criticized the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue of religious freedom in Nigeria.
The U. S. also expressed concerns over religious rights violation in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and many other countries over alleged violation of the freedom of religious rights of certain minorities within their territories.
US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, stated this while presenting the US State Department 2020 International Religious Freedom Report on Wednesday, which was made available to reporters by the US Embassy on Friday.
The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country.
The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world.
The U.S. Department of State submits the reports in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
Blinken said, “In Nigeria, courts continue to convict people of blasphemy, sentencing them to long-term imprisonments or even death. Yet the government has still not brought anyone to justice for the military’s massacre of hundreds of Shia Muslims in 2015.”
The report also said Iran continues to intimidate, harass and arrest members of minority faith groups, including Baha’i, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni and Sufi Muslims.
It noted that in Burma, the military coup leaders are among those responsible for ethnic cleansing and other atrocities against Rohingya, most of who are Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities around the world.”
In Russia, the report said authorities continue to harass, detain, and seize property of Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as members of Muslim minority groups on the pretence of alleged extremism.
“Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world without a Christian church, though there are more than a million Christians living in Saudi Arabia. And authorities continue to jail human rights activists like Raif Badawi, who was sentenced in 2014 to a decade in prison and a thousand lashes for speaking about his beliefs.
“And China broadly criminalizes religious expression and continues to commit crimes against humanity and genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups”, the report said.
Blinken also announced the designation of Yu Hui, a former office director of the so-called Central Leading Group Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions of Chengdu, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely, the arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners. Yu Hui and his family are now ineligible for entry into the United States.