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Three-fourths of the world does not have religious freedomcomment (0)

November 30, 2000

About 75 percent of the world’s population is subjected to restrictions and violations of their religious freedom, according to a recent survey by the Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom.

Some 36 percent of people live in countries in which religious liberties are “fundamentally violated,” while 39 percent practice their faith under constraints, according to the survey. The report said religious freedom is rapidly deteriorating in many parts of the world, citing Burma, Turkmenistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, North Korea and Tibet as countries with the most systematic violations of religious liberties.

Twenty-five percent of the world’s population lives under conditions of broad religious freedom, the report said, singling out Estonia, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and the United States as countries with the best track records.

Still, the United States should not neglect the issue of religious liberty worldwide, said Nina Shea, director of the center.

“The survey shows the need for greater attention in U.S. foreign policy and in the international community to the issue of religious persecution,” she said in a statement. “It reveals that religion-related conflict and repression are now a major factor in international life.” (RNS)

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