India has rejected its criticism in a US State Department report on religious freedom, saying it is unfortunate that “vote bank politics is being practised in international relations”.
What does the report say?
- Recently, the Department of State released the 2021 International Religious Freedom Report.
- This report offers a thorough, fact-based review of the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world.
- The report borrows from media and government accounts to document attacks against religious minorities.
About International Religious Freedom Report –
- The Department of State submits an annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom in compliance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
- This report, also known as the International Religious Freedom Report, describes the status of religious freedom, government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals.
- It also highlights U.S. policies promoting religious freedom in nearly every country and territory throughout the world.
- Additionally, it recommends, develops and implements policies and programs to address the mentioned concerns.
- Further, identify and denounce regimes that persecute on the basis of religion and assist NGOs globally in promoting religious freedom.
Historical background –
- In 1998, the then-U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA, 1998) into law.
- It was passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
- The Act led to the creation of the Office of International Religious Freedom headed by an Ambassador-at-Large within the State Department of the U.S. government.