14 US Senators—10 Republicans and 4 Democrats—who have signed a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asking that India be named a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), following the recommendation of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
The Senators who signed the letter are Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).
The letter, primarily endorsed by the Coalition to Stop Genocide in India (CSGI), has been signed by Republican and Democratic senators, requesting the US Secretary of State that in case the Government decides not to accept the recommendations by United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), it must inform its reason in the US Congress within a period of 30 days.
Last year, the US designated nine countries, including China, North Korea, Burma, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as CPC on the basis of USCIRF recommendations. In April this year, the USCIRF recommended adding nine more countries, including India, to this list.
CSGI has repeatedly called for the inclusion of India in the list of countries of particular concern, and has urged the State Department to accept USCIRF’s recommendations in this regard, given the escalating levels of persecution against religious minorities in India.
The Senators wrote “We are encouraged to see the pressure from Congress to designate India a Country of Particular Concern. The US should always lead with its values and hold our friends accountable when they miss the mark on religious freedom,” said Matias Perttula, Advocacy Director, International Christian Concern. “The Modi government must move away from its radical agenda and secure the rights and liberties of all religious minorities in India as is guaranteed in its constitution.
” Both the State Department and USCIRF play important roles in sustaining the United States’ leadership in religious freedom across the globe, including through their annual reports,” the letter said. “These reports are invaluable for Members of Congress, other governments, and civil society groups, and help hold bad actors accountable.”
Reports by USCIRF and the State Department “enable the international community to identify atrocities, encourage progress and develop solutions,” the letter said.
The Senators’ letter to Secretary Pompeo shows that there is a strong bipartisan Congressional support for holding India accountable for its escalating violence against its principal minorities, the Muslims and the Christians. The US Government must designate India as CPC.
The letter has also been sent to US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.
The Coalition to Stop Genocide has urged Secretary Pompeo not only to accept the USCIRF’s recommendation that India be designated as CPC “for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA),” but also to move quickly to impose “targeted sanctions” against Indian agencies and officials “responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/ or barring their entry into the United States.”
The “Coalition to Stop Genocide in India” is committed to safeguard peace, pluralism and social justice in India by ensuring that American institutions and discourse continues to highlight human rights abuses and religious freedom violations in India.
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