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The Department of State submits this report to the Congress in compliance with section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. U.S. embassies prepare the initial drafts of the reports based on information from government officials, religious leaders, nongovernmental organizations, journalists, human rights monitors, religious groups, academics, and others. U.S. foreign service officers go to great lengths, sometimes under trying and dangerous conditions, to collect the information on which the reports are based.
The Office of International Religious Freedom collaborates in collecting and analyzing information for the country reports, drawing on its own consultations with foreign government officials, religious leaders, nongovernmental organizations, representatives from the UN and other international and regional organizations and institutions, journalists, academic experts, and Department of State offices. The Department’s guiding principle is to ensure that all relevant information is assessed as objectively, thoroughly, and fairly as possible.
The reports are available via www.humanrights.gov (or directly, at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm) in a format that allows readers to search the texts and compare reports across regions and themes. Both the International Religious Freedom Report and the Human Rights Report spotlight examples of abuses and restrictions that typify and illuminate the types of problems frequently reported in each country in 2013. Specific inclusions or omissions should not be interpreted as a signal that a particular case is of greater or lesser importance to the U.S. government, or that a case is the only available example. Rather, our goal is to shed light on the nature, scope, and severity of the violations we report with illustrative examples. Both reports cover the calendar year so that readers can reference the two reports jointly and benefit from year-end data.
A wide range of U.S. government agencies and offices use the reports to shape policy; conduct diplomacy; and inform assistance, training, and other resource allocations. The Secretary of State also uses the reports to help determine which countries have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations” of religious freedom in order to designate “countries of particular concern.”
When this report states a government “generally respected” the right of religious freedom over the reporting period, it signifies that the government attempted to protect religious freedom in the fullest sense while recognizing that the protection and promotion of religious freedom is a dynamic endeavor. “Generally respected” is thus the highest level of respect for religious freedom assigned in this report.
This report reflects the dedicated efforts of hundreds of people in the Department of State and at U.S. missions abroad. We thank the dedicated staff at our embassies and consulates for monitoring and promoting religious freedom, and for chronicling in detail the status of religious liberty.
The reports were produced under the direction of Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Acting Assistant Secretary Uzra S. Zeya, with guidance from Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Kozak, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Kari Johnstone, and the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman.
The editorial staff of the International Religious Freedom Report consists of the following: Editor-in-Chief: Robert W. Boehme; Senior Editors: Daniel T. Fantozzi, Andrew Goodman, Laurie J. Tracy, and Vicente Valle; Office of International Religious Freedom Acting Director Brian D. Bachman and Acting Deputy Director Daniel Nadel; and the office’s editorial and support staff: Alyssa Abraham, Sania Ahmed, Nida Ansari, Kyle Ballard, Chase Ballinger, Molly Bernstein, Leanne Cannon, Warren Cofsky, Jonathan B. Collett, Nancy Cooper, Stacy Bernard Davis, Alisha Deluty, Patricia Dinkens-Greene, Shelly J. Dittmar, Daniel A. Estrada, Safaya Fawzi, Margaret Gibbon, Bethany Graves, Michele Jablonsky, Sameer Hossain, Rachel Levin, Amber J. McIntyre, Elizabeth Huse Neil, Rustum Nyquist, Debra Perlin, Himani Reddy, Jessica Rodgers, Benjamin Schwartz, Hadia Shah, Deeksha Sharma, Judit Szilagyi, John C. Taylor, Victoria L. Thoman, and Rachel Washington.