Russia violates religious freedom in Crimea and Donbas – USCIRF

Russia violates religious freedom in Crimea and Donbas – USCIRF

The United States criticized the Kremlin’s persecution of religious minorities both in the territory of the Russian Federation and in the occupied areas of Donbas and in Crimea.

This is stated in the latest report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

“Russian legislation targets “extremism” without adequately defining the term, enabling the state to prosecute a vast range of nonviolent, nonpolitical religious activity,” the documents says.

In this regard, the report mentioned cases of persecution of representatives of the St. Petersburg Church of Scientology, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat, readers of the works of Turkish theologian Said Nursi and others.

Special attention was paid to the persecution of religious minorities on the Crimean peninsula, as well as in the occupied areas of Donbas.

“In Russian-occupied Crimea, the Russian authorities continued to kidnap, torture, and imprison Crimean Tatar Muslims at will. Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine continued to expropriate church buildings and intimidate religious communities,” the document says.

USCIRF urged the Russian government to amend its extremism law in line with international human rights standards and to abandon its religious registration laws, which are frequently used to harass and prosecute religious minorities. The United States also called on the Russian Federation to permit the establishment of an international monitoring presence in occupied Crimea to verify compliance with international human rights.


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