By Scott Morgan, Special to ASSIST News Service
WASHINGTON, DC (ANS – June 11, 2016) — Once again, the USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) has issued its annual report on the State of Religious Freedom around the World. This report is part of the reporting process for the State Department Report on Human Rights.
When it comes to East Africa there is a unique distinction. First of all the Report considers both Sudan and Eritrea as Countries of Particular Concern. This is not a huge surprise especially for Eritrea as it has recently been suggested by an investigation panel from the UN Human Rights Commission that the Security Council refer the Country to the International Criminal Court for serious Human Rights Violations.
Meanwhile during 2015 the climate for Religious Freedom continued to decline within Sudan. Repression and Marginalization of the Christian Community by Agents of the State continues with impunity. A very restrictive form of Sharia is imposed on Muslims and Non-Muslims alike and corresponding hudood (an Islamic concept: punishments which under Islamic law — Shariah — are mandated and fixed by God) are applied as well.
Meanwhile several other countries in the region notably Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are lumped into one entry titled the Horn of Africa. The background into why these are entered jointly is very intriguing. Al-Shabaab which has been designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is partly responsible for many of the Abuses Committed in Kenya and Somalia. Another Key reason for issues in Somalia is the intolerance on both the Government and the Clan level that is the background for the Poor Religious Freedom Climate in the Country.
Meanwhile in both Kenya and Ethiopia Religious Violations have occurred due to responses against terrorist attacks (both countries have Military Contingents Operating with Somalia at this time) and their response to the rising Religious Extremism in their respective Countries. There will be serious focus on this part of the World as 3% of the World’s Oil Passes through the Region on a Daily Basis. Any threat from any sector will be scrutinized and responded to as necessary. We should realize that the US Military has a Joint Task Force for the Region as well to conduct Operations as well.
There are two glaring omissions in this entry. Both Djibouti and Tanzania are omitted from this Report. Conditions in Northern Tanzania and on the Island of Zanzibar should be worthy of concern. There have been low level attacks on the Island against “Western Influences” in the past and a recently contested and controversial Election will not reduce tensions in the Short Term.
Djibouti is one of the most important pieces of Real Estate in East Africa. The US and France already have bases in the Country. China has finalized plans for their own base as well. This will present new targets for the Religious Extremists that are active in the region. This should present a new opportunity to promote Religious Freedom.
Photo: 1) Christian prisoners in Eritrea. 2) Muslim persecution of Christians is particularly evident in Sudan. 3) Scott Morgan.
About the writer: Scott Morgan has been the President of Red Eagle Enterprises since its inception in November 2012. He uses his experience from serving in the U.S. Marines during the Reagan Administration, attending college for Criminal Justice, Advocacy for Human Rights with Amnesty International and Writing to come up with an interesting matrix and business model. Currently based in Washington, DC he specializes in US Policy towards Africa focusing on Security, Assymetrical Operations and Business Development South of the Sahara. His Blog Confused Eagle can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com His webpage can be found at: http://morganscott251.wix.com/redeagleenterprises.
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