Country of Particular Concern

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Country of Particular Concern (CPC) is a designation by the United States Secretary of State (under authority delegated by the President) of a nation guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 106-55). The term "particularly severe violations of religious freedom" means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including violations such as:

  • a) Torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • b) Prolonged detention without charges;
  • c) Causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons; or
  • d) Other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons. Nations so designated are subject to further actions, including economic sanctions, by the United States.

Issuing recommendations as to countries it believes should be designated as countries of particular concern for their religious liberty violations is the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a separate agency created by IRFA (along with the U.S. Department of State's Office of International Religious Freedom) to monitor the state of religious freedom around the world. Both entities provide policy recommendations to the president, the secretary of state and US Congress. Its recommendations are not always followed by the Secretary of State.

The latest report from February 29, 2016, designated each of the following nations as a CPC:[1]

Each of these states was included on the previous year's report except Tajikistan.


  1. ^ Frequently Asked Questions: IRF Report and Countries of Particular Concern (accessed May 17, 2016)

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