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Tillerson decries ISIS genocide in religious freedom report

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announces the release of the 2016 annual International Religious Freedom report. Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh

Tillerson decries ISIS genocide in religious freedom report

WASHINGTON—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the U.S. State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom Tuesday, highlighting the Islamic State as one of the biggest threats to liberty around the globe. “ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and death,” Tillerson wrote. “ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled.” Tillerson told reporters no person should have to live in fear or face discrimination for his or her beliefs. The report analyzes the state of religious freedom in 199 countries, providing the executive branch and Congress with valuable data on human rights violations and how to stop them. The State Department began releasing the annual report after Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Under the law, the report should come out “[n]ot later than May 1 of each year.” This is the first report from the Trump administration. Ambassador Michael G. Kozak, of the department’s bureau of democracy, human rights, and labor, told me the department wanted input from many high-level people, which can take time. He added he’s pleased Tillerson took the time to release the report personally Tuesday.

Evan Wilt Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.


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