WASHINGTON

The US State Department designated Monday 10 nations as countries of particular concern over allegations of religious freedoms violations.  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is applying the label under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

He cited either their involvement or complicity in “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”

“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,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia were further added to a special watch list, according to the State Department.  

Both Sudan and Uzbekistan have been removed from the watch list over “concrete progress undertaken by their respective governments over the past year,” according to Pompeo.

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