The United States has removed Sudan from the blacklist of countries where freedom of religion is violated, even though it has warned Nigeria, Cuba and Nicaragua.
Sudan is the only country that has been removed from the State Department’s annual list of « countries of special concern », which are liable to sanctions if they fail to protect religious freedom better.
Civil economist Abdalla Hamdok became Prime Minister of Sudan in September, promising national reconciliation after decades of military rule and conflict.
But Mr. Hamdok’s government is still waiting for the United States to pay him a higher price, removing it from the list of states that support terrorism, a designation that has severely hampered investment.
Eritrea remains on the list
Nine countries still on the blacklist, including Pakistan, which was appointed in 2018 after years of hesitation on the part of the United States due to concerns about the treatment of minorities, including through a remedy abusive to a blasphemy law, which can result in the death penalty.
China, which, according to human rights groups and American officials, has imprisoned at least a million Uighurs and other Muslims, is also on the list, as is Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States. , which imposes the rigid Wahhabi school of Islam.
The other countries on the list were Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
« No country, entity or individual should be able to persecute people of faith without being accountable, » said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement.
« We have acted and we will continue to do it, » he said, calling religious freedom a priority for the government of President Donald Trump.
Nigeria, Comoros warned
The State Department added Cuba, Nicaragua and Nigeria to a list of countries that could be designated as such if they do not improve their results.
In Nigeria, the State Department indicated in its latest report on religious freedom that minorities have reported discrimination, including limits on freedom of expression and obtaining employment in the public service.
The State Department highlighted the lack of accountability in the brutal crackdown on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, a pro-Iranian Shiite group, and the arrest of a Christian for attempting to conceal a young Muslim girl.
The State Department said that religious groups are being subjected to restrictions and harassment in both Cuba and Nicaragua, a left-wing country under increasing pressure from Trump.
Russia and the Comoros have remained on the list of countries to watch. Sudan and Uzbekistan, which was removed from the blacklist in 2018, were also on the watch list.
Latest designations have not included India, despite growing concerns from US lawmakers over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda, including a citizenship law that has sparked widespread protests over accusations that it marginalizes Muslims.