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U.S. keeps Sudan in blacklist for religious freedom violations

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Sudanese worshippers outside Soba Al Aradi church after its demolishment on Sunday 7 May 2017 (ST Photo)
December 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has maintained Sudan in the list of ten countries violating religious freedom, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

"I designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom,” read the statement.

The United States permanently lifted a raft of sanctions on Sudan on 6 October 2017 but refuses to remove the east African country from the list of countries supporting terrorism pointing to the need to improve human rights particularly the religious freedom.

"Some laws and government practices are based on the government’s interpretation of a sharia system of jurisprudence, which human rights groups state does not provide protections for some religious minorities, including minority Muslim groups," says the State Department in its International Religious Freedom Report released on 29 May 2018.

U.S. officials encouraged the Sudanese government to take some measures to ensure respect for religious freedom. Also, the matter is part of a plan agreed by the two countries in November 2018 to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Last year, Sudan regretted its inclusion in the blacklist of religious freedom saying U.S. announcement was inconsistent with the praise received by Sudan from many symbols and leaders of the world religious institutions.

(ST)

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