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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Washington, DC
May 9, 2007

Countries of Particular Concern 2006 Under the International Religious Freedom Act

The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Act requires an annual review of the status of religious freedom worldwide and the designation of countries that have "engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom" during the reporting period as "Countries of Particular Concern" (CPCs). Following designation the Secretary approves a "Presidential action" from among those specified in the IRF Act.

In 2006, the Secretary re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan as CPCs, and designated Uzbekistan as a CPC for the first time. Information on the status of religious freedom in each of these countries can be found in the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

Burma
Burma was first designated a CPC in 1999. The Secretary designated a sanction already in effect, consisting of a prohibition on exports or other transfers of defense articles and defense services pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, as the action under the IRF Act.

China
China was first designated a CPC in 1999. The Secretary designated a sanction already in effect, consisting of the restriction of exports of crime control and detection instruments and equipment pursuant to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, as the action under the IRF Act.

Eritrea
Eritrea was first designated a CPC in 2004. As the action under the IRF Act, the Secretary ordered the denial of commercial export to Eritrea of any defense articles and services controlled under the Arms Export Control Act, excluding items that support U.S. anti-terrorism, counter-terrorism, and de-mining programs, United Nations and other peacekeeping operations, U.S. commitments under international conventions, or that are temporary exports of protective clothing for individual use by United Nations personnel, media representatives, and humanitarian and development workers.

Iran
Iran was first designated a CPC in 1999. The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran. The Secretary designated a sanction already in effect, consisting of restrictions on U.S. security assistance pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, as the action under the IRF Act.

North Korea
The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK) was first designated a CPC in 2001. The Secretary designated a sanction already in effect, consisting of restrictions on normal trade relations and other trade benefits pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974 and the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, as the action under the IRF Act.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia was first designated a CPC in 2004. The Secretary authorized a 180-day waiver of actions under the IRF Act, effective September 12, 2005, to further the purposes of the Act.

Sudan
Sudan was first designated a CPC in 1999. The Secretary designated a sanction already in effect, consisting of the use of the voice and vote of the U.S. to abstain on or oppose loans or other uses of the funds of the International Financial Institutions to or for Sudan, pursuant to the International Financial Institutions Act, as the action under the IRF Act.

Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan was first designated a CPC in 2006. Under the IRF Act, the Secretary of State has up to 180 days to choose a Presidential action from the list mandated by law. The Department of State will continue to press the Government of Uzbekistan for improvements in religious freedom.



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