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US Commission: Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Violate Religious Freedom


The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says sectarian and religiously motivated violence persists in Pakistan and that the government's response continues to be insufficient.

The Commission's annual report says in Uzbekistan, restrictive laws on religion severely limit the ability of religious communities to function, and the government controls the manner in which the Islamic faith is practiced.

The report says President Saparmurat Niyazov's monopoly of power and absolute control in Turkmenistan render any independent religious activity in the country impossible.

Afghanistan, where the former Taleban regime was once designated as a particularly severe violator, has been added to a watch list of countries that violate religious freedom. Also on the list is Bangladesh where religious extremism threatens freedom of religion.

Though not on the watch list, the commission says it is closely monitoring the situation in India and Sri Lanka.

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