Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, part of the State Department, this annual report addresses which countries are interfering with God. Here is a portion of the Executive Summary of the report:
- The Year in Review
This section highlights U.S. Government actions in selected countries. Further details may be found in the individual country chapters.
Afghanistan. The Ambassador at Large and other U.S. Government officials have urged Afghan officials to include protections to religious freedom in the Constitution. Embassy representatives met regularly with religious and minority figures in an ongoing dialog regarding the political, legal, religious, and human rights context of the country's reconstruction. The U.S. also worked with civil society organizations to promote religious tolerance. A grant from U.S. Embassy Kabul was used to fund a monthly magazine designed to challenge "religious despotism" and to promote a tolerant interpretation of Islam.
Belarus. In October, the Department sent an officer to Minsk to protest the new restrictive law on religion. In November, the Department of State issued a public statement criticizing the passage of the law, citing the law's numerous restrictive elements. The U.S. Embassy released public statements condemning the passage of the law and called upon the Government to ensure that all citizens have the right to worship freely. The U.S. delegation to the OSCE criticized the Government's poor religious freedom record in an October 2002 public statement.
Bosnia and Herzegovina. The U.S. Ambassador met frequently with the principal religious leaders, individually and collectively, to urge them to work toward moderation and multiethnicity. The Ambassador has been involved actively as a member of the Srebrenica Foundation for the Memorial and Cemetery dedicated to victims of the 1995 massacre of Muslims in Potocari. The Embassy severely criticized instances of religious discrimination and attacks against religious communities or buildings and encouraged leaders from all ethnic groups and members of the international community to oppose publicly such attacks. The U.S. Agency for International Development provided funding to train lawyers and judges on human rights, including religious freedom.
Burma. U.S. Embassy personnel promoted religious freedom with government officials, private citizens, scholars, and representatives of foreign governments, media and businesses. As a key part of the Embassy’s reporting and public diplomacy activities, Embassy staff met repeatedly with leaders of Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic religious groups, including ethnic minority religious leaders, faculty members of theological schools, and other religious-affiliated organizations and NGOs.
The United States has discontinued bilateral aid to the Government, suspended issuance of licenses to export arms, and suspended the generalized system of preferences and Export-Import Bank financial services in support of U.S. exports to the country. The U.S. Government also has suspended all Overseas Private Investment Corporation financial services, ended active promotion of trade, and halted issuances of visas to high government officials and their immediate family members. It also has opposed all assistance to the Government by international financial institutions and urged the governments of other countries to take similar actions. New investment in the country by U.S. citizens has been illegal since 1997. For the fourth consecutive year, the Secretary of State designated Burma a "country of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.