Chairman Royce Statement on 2014 International Religious Freedom Report
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the State Department’s release of the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report:
“Religious liberty remains under siege around the world. Millions of believers face extremists who terrorize those with differing beliefs, or authoritarian governments who deny the freedom to worship outside of pre-approved regime-controlled means. We need look no further than the ongoing terror campaign of ISIS against the ancient Christian community in Mosul, Iraq, whose doors have been painted red, and who have been threatened with death unless they abandon their Christian faith.
“While I recognize that the Administration is finally acting today to fulfill its statutory obligation under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, I do not understand why it has failed to do so for the past three years. The President had not designated Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) since August 2011, an annual requirement under the law. And even today's designations do not capture all of those countries whose repression justifies CPC designation.
“One glaring omission from the State Department’s list is Vietnam, where those who practice religious freedom are severely persecuted. Having travelled to Vietnam to meet with the Venerable Thich Quang Do, I have seen the extent to which the Communist Government of Vietnam will go to punish peaceful religious dissidents.”
Note: Chairman Royce has introduced H.Res.218, calling on the Secretary of State to list Vietnam as a “country of particular concern" with respect to religious freedom.