U.S. releases disputed annual international religious report

October 26, 2009 10:38 pm 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 — The United States on Monday released its annual international religious report, reiterating its accusation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran for their so-called continuing religious repression.

Speaking of Iran's religious situation, the report claimed that "Respect for religious freedom in the country continued to deteriorate. … Government controlled broadcast and print media intensified negative campaigns against religious minorities."

On religious freedom in the DPRK, the report said that "genuine religious freedom does not exist" in the country.

"An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 persons were believed to be held in political prison camps in remote areas, some for religious reason. Prison conditions are harsh, torture and starvation are common," the report said.

Apart from Iran and the DPRK, both in tense relations with the United States for decades, the report also slammed Myanmar, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan for their alleged serious violations of religious freedom over the past year.

The rather disputed report also put China on the list of countries of particular concern.

In her news briefing on the 2009 Annual Report on International Religious Report, Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton said that "It is our hope that the … report will encourage existing religious freedom movements around the world and promote dialogue among governments and within societies on how best to accommodate religious communities and protect each individual's right to believe or not believe as that individual sees fit."

The United States, who always preens itself as leader of democracy and human rights and is blind to its violations of human rights at home and abroad and ill-treatment of prisoners of war, has long rebuked religious and freedom situation of other countries.

In response, many countries, including China, have always and categorically rejected the U.S. accusations. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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