Home   »   What Is USCIRF? Country Of Particular...

What Is USCIRF? Country Of Particular Concern – Free PDF Download

  • In its 2022 Annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended that India be designated a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC), i.e., the category of governments performing most poorly on religious freedom criteria.

  • It has also called for “targeted sanctions” on individuals and entities responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ or entities’ assets and/or barring their entry” into the U.S.


  • USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
  • It is an advisory body to the US Congress.
  • USCIRF’s 2022 Annual Report provides recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad.
  • It is Headquartered in Washington DC.
  • Established by the US government in 1998 after the inaction of the International Religious Freedom Act, recommendations of USCIRF are non-binding on the state department.
  • Traditionally, India does not recognize the view of USCIRF.
  • It is led by nine part-time commissioners appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the House and the Senate.

The USCIRF’s main responsibilities

  • To issue an annual report by May 1 of each year, assessing the US government’s implementation of IRFA.
  • To engage Congress by working with Congressional offices, advising on legislation, testifying at hearings, and holding briefings on religious freedom issues.
  • To meet regularly with Executive Branch officials to share information, highlight situations of concern, and discuss USCIRF’s recommendations for US policy.

‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) designation

  • IRFA requires the USCIRF to annually identify countries that merit a CPC designation. As per IRFA, CPCs are countries whose governments either engage in or tolerate “particularly severe violations” of religious freedom, which are defined as “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of the internationally recognized right to freedom of religion”.
  • The other designation, for less serious violations, is Special Watch List (SWL).

Countries have been designated as CPCs

  • For 2022, based on religious freedom conditions in 2021, a total of 15 countries have been recommended for the CPC designation.
  • They include India, Pakistan, Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam.

Countries have been designated as SWLs

  • Countries recommended for a Special Watch List (SWL) designation include Algeria, Cuba, Nicaragua, Azerbaijan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
  • The Report also includes USCIRF’s recommendations of violent nonstate actors for designation by the US State Department as Entities of Particular Concern (EPCs), under International Review of Financial Analysis (IRFA).

Countries have been designated as EPCs

  • Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP or ISIS-West Africa), and Jamaat Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM).

Why does USCIRF want India to be designated as a CPC?

  • The USCIRF, in its annual report, states that in 2021, “religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened.”

Observation of the report

  • Indian government escalated its promotion and enforcement of policies —including those promoting a Hindu-nationalist agenda — that negatively affect Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities.
  • According to the report, the administration had “repressed critical voices,” particularly of minority populations and individuals reporting on them.
  • Report mentions the arrest of rights activist Khuran Pervez in Kashmir, death of octogenarian Father Stan Swamy, arrested in October 2020 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967.
  • The report also touches on challenges faced by Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), especially about foreign funding.
  • It also highlights concerns of anti-conversion laws. A survey of churches and priests in the state, conducted by Karnataka’s government in October 2021.

Impact of the USCIRF’s recommendation

  • Since the recommendations of USCIRF are not completely binding on the State Department of the USA, it does not directly affect India.
  • But it certainly maligns India’s image at international level regarding the religious freedom to its citizens.

India’s Reaction

  • The government has pushed back against the USCIRF’s grading, questioning its locus standi.
  • In 2020, External Affairs Minister called the Commission an “Organisation of Particular Concern.”

Freedom of Religion in India

  • Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India.
    • Article 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion).
    • Article 26 (Freedom to manage religious affairs).
    • Article 27 (Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any religion).
    • Article 28 (Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions).

Which fundamental rights cannot be suspended even during an emergency?
(a) Right to Speech
(b) Right to Religion
(c) Right to Equality
(d) Right to Life and Personal Liberty


Latest Burning Issues | Free PDF


Sharing is caring!

Download your free content now!


We have received your details!

We'll share General Studies Study Material on your E-mail Id.

Download your free content now!

We have already received your details!

We'll share General Studies Study Material on your E-mail Id.

Incorrect details? Fill the form again here

General Studies PDF

Thank You, Your details have been submitted we will get back to you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.