The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released its 2022 Annual Report documenting developments during 2021. In addition to providing recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad, the report lists 15 countries in the most serious category – "countries of particular Concern," or CPCs.
Mattias Perttula of International Christian Concern says the report serves several uses.
"The greatest is that it is an official recommendation to the United States State Department to designate certain countries as countries of particular concern that would have some specific ramifications in terms of sanctions and other issues," he tells American Family News.
Perttula says the report can also be a tool for diplomacy, depending on the administration.
"Some take it more seriously than others," he notes. "There's a lot of kind of political will that goes behind it. So if there's an administration that truly cares about religious freedom, they are probably more likely to move forward with these recommendations or have some harsher consequences for those countries that are being recommended for CPC status."
Of particular concern is the current situation in Afghanistan without the presence of the United States military as well as the significant regress in the Central African Republic.