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Religião e Espiritualidade / 28/04/2021


Russia is among the "worst violators" of religious freedom, points out USA

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Russia is among the "worst violators" of religious freedom, points out USA

Classification appears in US Congressional Commission report on religious freedom abroad

Uscirf (US Commission on International Religious Freedom, in English) has classified Russia as one of the countries that most violates religious freedom in the world. The list also includes Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and six other countries, reported RFE (Radio Freee Europe).

The body was created by the US Congress to address religious freedom around the world. In its annual report, released last Wednesday (21), the organization proposes that Russia, India, Syria and Vietnam be included in the alert list - a category reserved for nations that commit “systematic, continuous and flagrant” violations against religious groups.

According to the document, conditions of religious freedom deteriorated in 2020 in Russia. "The government targets religious minorities considered to be non-traditional with fines, arrests and criminal charges," the report said.

Moscow reportedly filed 188 cases against Jehovah's Witnesses and requested 477 searches of banned members' homes. In the inspections, agents invaded and vandalized the places and included interrogations with “exquisite torture” without investigation or punishment.

Religion is viewed with suspicion by Russia, the Orthodox Church, defended by President Vladimir Putin, predominates. Moscow banned the religious group in 2017 and labeled it an extremist. The US Department of State classified the decision as "unfair".

Anti-extremism law

The report also points out that the Kremlin also used its anti-extremism law to "persecute religious minorities, especially Muslims". In the Russian North Caucasus region, security forces "acted with impunity" in arresting and kidnapping suspects of maintaining ties to Islamic militancy, the document said.

In Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula occupied by Moscow since 2014, peaceful religious activities have been banned and 16 Muslims have been sentenced to prison for “extremism and terrorism”. The report says the charges are untrue.

Countries included in the list may receive sanctions if they do not improve their records. In addition, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are on the list. Denunciations in these countries involve summary executions for blasphemy, forced conversions, hate speech, rapes and forced marriages.

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