The State Department has named 10 countries as the worst violators of religious freedom around the world but a U.S. official wishes there were more.
It was the first time for the Trump administration to make this annual naming of "Countries of Particular Concern" (CPCs) which are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Daniel Mark, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, calls the annual designation a "key step" to support religious freedom internationally. But he adds that he was hoping to see the Trump administration name more countries.
"I wouldn't want to go overboard criticizing them this year for not doing better given that it's the first time," he clarifies. "But I would certainly say that given everything we've seen, it was a little bit disappointing to get mostly the same."
One positive, he says, was that Pakistan was named to a new category called the "Special Watch List" which he likens to a warning from the State Department.
"And if things improve we can take you off the list," he says of the designation. "But if things continue to regress or devolve, then you're going up to CPC."
Mark says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (pictured above, with China's president) should have also designated the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
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