From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 2- India-US relations
- U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent bi-partisan commission.
- USCIRF recommendations are non-binding.
- The Trump administration had rejected the USCIRF recommendation to designate India a CPC last year.
- Last year India had denied visas to members of USCIRF who wanted to visit India for their assessment.
What are the key concerns of the report
- The key concerns of the 2021 report include the Citizenship Amendment Act.
- On the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the report says, “The consequences of exclusion – as exemplified by a large detention camp being built in Assam – are potentially devastating…”
- Efforts to prohibit interfaith marriage – such as those in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – are also highlighted as a concern.
- In an apparent reference to the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in March 2020, the USCIRF says that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation and hateful rhetoric often targeted religious minorities.
Recommendations of the report to the US Congress
- The USCISRF recommended that the administration impose targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’.
- A second recommendation was for the administration to promote inter-faith dialogue and the rights of all communities at bilateral and multilateral forums “such as the ministerial of the Quad].
- Another recommendation – to the U.S. Congress – was to raise issues in the U.S. – India bilateral space, such as by hosting hearings, writing letters and constituting Congressional delegations.