US puts Algeria on “special watch” list

The United States on Wednesday placed Algeria on a “special watch” list for countries that trample on religious freedom.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he has decided to place Algeria on this “Special Watch List” for governments that have committed or tolerated “serious violations of religious freedom ”.

The State Department has, moreover, designated the terrorist group Islamic State in the Great Sahara, among the “entities of particular concern”, adds the same source.

Mr. Blinken’s decision to add Algeria to this blacklist comes following a recommendation by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

In its recent annual report, the USCIRF asked to include this country on this list for “having committed or tolerated serious violations” of religious freedom.

Under US law, countries on this “blacklist” must take action to lift threats to religious freedom or face sanctions.

The American commission observed that the new Algerian constitution, adopted in the wake of popular civil protests, represents a “new erosion” of the conditions of religious freedom in Algeria, “which has a long history of oppression and persecution of minorities. religious ”.

The new constitution, which “does not necessarily enjoy strong support” from the Algerian people, raises “serious concerns” about the future of religious freedom in this country, the commission said.

USCIRF is a bipartisan federal body established by the United States Congress to monitor, analyze, and report threats to international religious freedom. It makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State and Congress.

FA

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