On December 7, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the removal of Uzbekistan from the State Department’s religious freedom “Special Watch List” in recognition of its “significant, concrete progress…Their courageous reforms of their laws and practices stand as models for other nations to follow.” Uzbekistan’s removal came just two years after it was removed from the list of Countries of Particular Concern which engage in “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations” of religious freedom.

IGE strongly affirms the State Department’s recognition of the significant progress that Uzbekistan has made in building and protecting the freedom of faith of its citizens. This progress was echoed by Uzbek citizens that IGE had the blessing to interact with over the course of its work in Uzbekistan, which culminated in the first religious freedom MOU signed in 2018 between the Uzbekistan government and IGE and a groundbreaking visit in 2019 where IGE conducted its flagship religious freedom training for government officials, religious leaders, and academics.