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May 13, 2021

United States Releases 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom

Yesterday, Secretary Blinken released the 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom. This year marks the twenty-third release of the International Religious Freedom Report and anniversary of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, the legislation that affirmed the importance of defending and advancing religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy, created the Office of International Religious Freedom, and mandated the annual report on international religious freedom. Each year, embassies and consulates around the world work meticulously to prepare the report, which documents the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries and territories. The report is designed to spotlight examples of government and societal action that illuminate issues reported in each country.

As this year’s report shows, 2020 witnessed significant government restrictions on religious practice, as well as societal intolerance of, and violence against, individuals on account of their religious beliefs. Anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, and other forms of bigotry continued to rise, with four out of every five people in the world living in countries with high or very high restrictions on religious freedom.

Governments that safeguarded religious freedom continued to enjoy more stability, economic vibrancy, and peace. Conversely, those that did not continued to foster alienation, radicalization, and violent extremism, undermined economic development, and threatened social cohesion and political stability.

The United States is deeply committed to advancing universal respect for freedom of religion or belief for all. The right to exercise one’s freedom of religion or belief has been central to the American experience since our country’s founding and is enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Learn more about the 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom here.