(Minghui.org) In a statement published on December 7, 2020, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned perpetrators who undermine religious freedom and vowed to take measures against them.

Pompeo said in the statement, “Religious freedom is an unalienable right, and the bedrock upon which free societies are built and flourish. Today, the United States – a nation founded by those fleeing religious persecution, as the recent Commission on Unalienable Rights report noted – once again took action to defend those who simply want to exercise this essential freedom.”

The statement said that based on International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the U.S. is designating Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern, as these countries are engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Pompeo added that the U.S. is adding Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia on a Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating “severe violations of religious freedom.” They are also designating organizations including al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida, and ISIS as “Entities of Particular Concern” under the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016.

He also praised Sudan and Uzbekistan, which were removed from the Special Watch List, “as models for other nations to follow,” for making concrete progress with law reforms and other practices. 

He concluded that their work is far from complete. He pledged that “the United States will continue to work tirelessly to end religiously motivated abuses and persecution around the world, and to help ensure that each person, everywhere, at all times, has the right to live according to the dictates of conscience.”

During a trip in the Indo-Pacific region in late October 2020, Pompeo delivered a speech in Indonesia on October 29 and said that “The gravest threat to the future of religious freedom is the Chinese Communist Party’s war against people of all faiths: Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners alike.”

He also stated that freedom of religious belief is everyone’s most basic rights. The freedom given by God is precious and everyone has the responsibility to safeguard it.