The Department of State submits an annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom in compliance with section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-292), as amended. This report, also known as the International Religious Freedom Report, describes the status of religious freedom, government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies promoting religious freedom in nearly every country and territory throughout the world. The report covers the period between January 1 and December 31 of the previous calendar year.
“…For far too many people within our borders and beyond, practicing their faith still means facing fear and persecution. Today, let us recommit ourselves to ending this hate. And let us work together to ensure that people of all religions — and no religion — are treated with equal dignity and respect.”
President Joseph R. Biden
The United States is a longstanding champion of the right to freedom of religion or belief for all people. The historic roots of this advocacy date back to the country’s foundation and remain central to the American experience today.
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson penned the landmark Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, the forerunner to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This legislation would inspire the expansion of the U.S. commitment to advancing freedom of religion or belief around the world and the adoption of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The spirit of the Article 18 legislation seeks to ensure that every individual, regardless of who they are or where they live, can believe as they wish and peacefully espouse those beliefs as they see fit.
Today, individuals across the diverse range of the belief spectrum continue to migrate to the United States and other democratic countries in search of the freedom of religion or belief. Studies have repeatedly shown a positive correlation between the free exercise of individual human rights in democratic countries, and a corresponding increase in political stability, economic prosperity, and social cohesion. When countries protect the freedom or belief, they perform better, and the lives of their citizens improve.
Today’s release of the 2022 International Religious Freedom Report spotlights state and non-state actors that have championed freedom of religion or belief as well as those that have failed to respect these rights. In 2022 significant governmental restrictions on religious practice continued, as well as societal intolerance of, and violence against, individuals on account of their beliefs or non-belief. Antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Christian sentiment, discrimination against atheists, and other forms of bigotry continued to increase. Individuals faced death, torture, threats, imprisonment, and harassment on the basis of religion or belief.
While some countries progressed, much work remains to advance the freedom of religion or belief around the world. Thus, the United States resolves to continue the vital work of promoting freedom of religion or belief for all.
I hereby transmit the Department of State’s 2022 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom to the United States Congress. I appreciate the longstanding Congressional support on freedom of religion or belief and look forward to working with Congress to preserve and protect this human right for all.
Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
U.S. embassies prepare the initial drafts of country chapters based on information from government officials, religious groups, nongovernmental organizations, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, media, and others. The Office of International Religious Freedom, based in Washington, collaborates in collecting and analyzing additional information, drawing on its consultations with foreign government officials, domestic and foreign religious groups, domestic and foreign nongovernmental organizations, multilateral and other international and regional organizations, journalists, academic experts, community leaders, and other relevant U.S. government institutions.
The State Department’s guiding principle is to ensure that all relevant information is presented as objectively, thoroughly, and fairly as possible. Motivations and accuracy of sources vary, however, and the Department of State is not in a position to verify independently all information contained in the reports. To the extent possible, the reports use multiple sources to increase comprehensiveness and reduce potential for bias. The views of any particular source are not necessarily those of the United States government. The report is designed to spotlight examples of government and societal action that typify and illuminate issues reported in each country. 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, the goal is to shed light on the nature, scope, and severity of actions impacting religious freedom through illustrative examples.