RFI’s Paul Marshall Discusses 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom

June 10, 2022

RFI’s Paul Marshall, Director of the South and Southeast Asia Action Team, was recently interviewed on EWTN News Nightly to discuss the State Department’s newly released 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom. The report contains data from nearly 200 countries and documents where religious freedom is lacking, as well as countries that have seen improvement. 

Marshall explained that the most positive attribute of the report is that, unlike some of its predecessors, it is largely objective and comprehensive, saying: “It provides the most comprehensive survey in the world of religious freedom violations and religious freedom protections. That is its great strength.” 

Marshall added that the introductory remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain were a very good addition, as well.

He stated that a large problem with the report, however, is that the State Department has dropped Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). While its removal – which happened earlier this year – would normally imply some improvement, Marshall emphasized that thousands of Christians are still being killed in Nigeria every year: 

In terms of death toll, this is the worst situation of religious persecution in the world. Why the State Department has dropped that, I don’t know. I haven’t been able to get answers, nor have my colleagues.

The importance of religious freedom globally cannot be emphasized enough. “It’s also now quite clear, from many studies, that when you have religious repression you get increased conflict and instability, so it’s in the U.S. national interest also to promote religious freedom around the world,” explained Marshall. 

Watch the full interview below: