U.S. Hearing on Religious Freedom in India Postponed Due to ‘Overwhelming Response’
12, Dec 2018
Prelims level : International organizations Mains level : GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian Diaspora.
- A bipartisan hearing on religious freedom in India, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed due to an “overwhelming response” from stakeholders.
- The meeting has been postponed to accommodate more attendees and participants
- The 2018 USCIRF Annual Report placed India in Tier 2 which is a list of nations “in which the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government during 2017 are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious’ CPC [country of particular concern or a Tier 1 country] standard.”
- India has been in this category as per the Commission since 2009. Other countries in the category for 2018 were Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, and Turkey. The report says that in 2017 actors tied to Hindu extremist groups regularly harassed, intimidated, and perpetrated violence against Hindu Dalits, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs. Anti-conversion and anti-cow slaughter laws were routinely used to discriminate against religious minorities or as a pretext for extrajudicial violence…These and similar issues have continued in 2018
- It also says that as the world’s largest democracy, India has claim to a noble tradition of interreligious harmony, Ahimsa, tolerance and pluralism that is being threatened today,
- The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998.
- USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
- USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress.
- The Commission on International Religious Freedom issues an annual report that includes policy recommendations to the U.S. government based on the report’s evaluation of the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations worldwide.