US provides Wagner mercenaries to blacklist for non secular persecution

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US State Department says it ‘will not stand by’ within the face of a crackdown on non secular freedoms.

The United States has added Latin American adversaries Cuba and Nicaragua in addition to Russia’s Wagner Group to a blacklist on worldwide non secular freedom, opening the trail to potential sanctions.

“Around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a press release on Friday.

“The United States will not stand by in the face of these abuses.”

The Wagner Group was being designated for alleged involvement in abuses within the Central African Republic, the place nearly 10 years of bloodshed has had non secular overtones.

The Russian mercenary group has additionally been concerned in Mali and has been accused of rights violations in Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

Cuba and Nicaragua have been each newly designated as “Countries of Particular Concern” beneath the annual determinations, which means the 2 leftist-led states – already beneath US sanctions – may face additional measures.

Nicaragua’s more and more authoritarian president, Daniel Ortega, has clamped down on the Catholic Church since accusing it of supporting 2018 anti-government protests, which have been crushed at the price of tons of of lives.

The designation of Cuba is the most recent signal of strain on the island by the administration of President Joe Biden, which has largely shunned earlier Democratic President Barack Obama’s effort to hunt a gap with the lifelong US nemesis.

In its newest annual report on non secular freedom issued in June, the State Department pointed to violence and arrests of Cuban non secular figures over purported roles in uncommon public protests in addition to restrictions on non-recognised Protestant church buildings.

“These actions represented a shift to engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing egregious violations of religious freedom, which is the basis for the designation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price informed reporters.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected the US blacklisting, calling it “arbitrary” and “dishonest”.

“It is known that in Cuba there is religious freedom,” Rodriguez tweeted.

Blinken stored on the blacklist all Countries of Particular Concern from 2021 – China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

No motion on rising allies

As anticipated, no motion was taken towards India, seen by the United States as a key rising ally.

The determination ignores a suggestion by the autonomous US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which stated the remedy of minorities was “significantly” worsening beneath Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist authorities.

The Commission stated in a press release it was “outraged” that Blinken did not record India or Nigeria regardless of the State Department’s personal reporting exhibiting “severe religious freedom violations” in each international locations.

India had already voiced anger over the State Department’s annual report, which documented incendiary feedback by Indian officers and accounts of discrimination towards Muslims and Christians.

CAR, Vietnam on watchlist

Blinken added the Central African Republic to a watchlist, which means it is going to be designated amongst Countries of Particular Concern with out progress.

Also newly placed on the watchlist was Vietnam, the place the State Department report stated the communist authorities harassed non-recognised non secular teams, together with Christian home church buildings, impartial Buddhists, and members of the century-old Cao Dai motion.

Algeria and Comoros remained on the watchlist from 2021.

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