Saturday, May 05, 2007

Watching Iraq for Religious Freedom --
Via USA Today: Iraq was added to U.S. religious freedom watchlist.

Citing gross violations of the rights of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as well as followers of numerous minority beliefs, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom added Iraq to its "watch list" on Wednesday. Violations included arbitrary arrests, torture and rape.

Iraq joins Afghanistan, Belarus, Egypt, Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia and Nigeria on the list. Their designation is a notch below the designation "country of particular concern," which would make them subject to possible U.S. sanctions.

Three of the four Democratic appointees to the 10-member congressionally named commission differed with the Republican majority, arguing that conditions are so bad in Iraq the commission should have taken that next step.

The four Democratic appointees are:
-Ricardo Ramirez, the Catholic Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico
-Preeta Bansal, the India-born former New York State Solicitor General who is now a partner in the prestigious and mega-rich Skadden law firm. (Another current partner is Clinton lawyer Bob Bennett, while past partners have included Laura Ingraham and Eliot Spitzer.)
-Vice-Chair Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor in international relations at Boston University
-Chair Felice D. Gaer, director of The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of The American Jewish Committee, who has an extensive resume in the field of human rights.

Some notable Republican appointees are:
-Denver archbishop Charles Chaput, who gained some notoriety in 2004 for statements about pro-abortion Catholic politicians
-Southern Baptist bigwig and radio host Eugene Land

I wonder which of the Democratic appointees didn't argue that Iraq should be added to Burma, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam as "countries of particular concern."
(7:34 PM)


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