Washington, DC– In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in Africa and the Middle East, commends Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for designating the following countries as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.”
Secretary Pompeo also designated the following organizations as Entities-of-Particular Concern: al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban.
On December 7, Secretary Pompeo made the announcement, and further stated that “our work is far from complete. The United States will continue to work tirelessly to end religiously motivated abuses and persecution around the world, and to help ensure that each person, everywhere, at all times, has the right to live according to the dictates of conscience.”
“We want to commend Secretary Pompeo for his leadership in advancing international religious freedom,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini. “The designation of Nigeria as a CPC is a much needed first step in responding to the Christian genocide there. Saudi Arabia once again is deserving of its CPC designation and we encourage the Secretary to refrain from issuing the kingdom the sanctions waiver it has been receiving annually since 2006,” he added.