The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor has recently released its 45th annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
The State Department's 2020 report has highlighted the status of human rights in every country around the world as well as some progress in the U.S. foreign policy in terms of addressing abuses.
In its preface, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken nailed on the universality of human rights.
"All people are entitled to these rights, no matter where they're born, what they believe, whom they love, or any other characteristic," he said.
Although Blinken has touched on the rising humanitarian crises in some countries, the International Christian Concern (ICC) observed that some of the languages used in the report tried to weasel out of the real crux of the matter which is the suppression of religious freedom.
While the report used "strong language" against the suppression of China's religious minorities, it settled for political correctness in the description of other faith and ethnicity-related abuses from other countries. ICC also cited two examples: one from Secretary Blinken's comments and another from the report itself.
On the political upheaval in Myanmar, Blinken condemned the violence perpetuated by the Burmese military against the "non-violent protesters." There was no mention or acknowledgement of the Myanmar Christians who have been targeted by the military because of their involvement in the protest.
About Nigeria, ICC said that the State's report has "showed some progress in addressing religious freedom concerns there." Still, it fell short in its discussion of the violence against Christian farmers in Nigeria's Middle Belt where Fulani herdsmen assault them. The report referred to the violence as "a farmer-herder conflict about land rights."
ICC also noted that the State Department has finally acknowledged the present Turkish government's involvement in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It has supported the Azerbaijani military in its campaign against Armenians and Artsakh.
Since September last year, ICC has been working round the clock to raise awareness on this issue. They said that they tried engaging U.S. policymakers in Congress and the State Department. They have also published a detailed report in "The Anatomy of Genocide - Karabakh's Forty-Four Day War" and by hosting a virtual discussion with the Armenian Assembly of America on the threats facing ethnic Armenian Christians following the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Distinctly noting that "religious freedom" is a vital right, Matias Perttula, ICC's Director of Advocacy, said that they will continue to work with the State Department and that they hope for the present administration to make it a priority on U.S. foreign policies.
"We at ICC welcome the progress that the State Department has made on promoting religious freedom and human rights around the world," he said.
"However, we remain concerned whether the Biden administration is still committed to putting religious freedom as a central principle in the United States' foreign policy priorities. We look forward to working with the State Department in ensuring that this vital right is protected for all," Perttula added.
Additionally, Secretary Blinken's words on the Biden Administration's commitment "to working toward a fairer and more just society in the United States," remains to be seen in the coming years.