Uzbekistan is an unlikely poster child for religious freedom.
Open Doors currently ranks the Central Asian nation as No. 16 on its 2018 list of the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The US State Department named Uzbekistan again this year as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC)—a notorious list of religious freedom violators that the former Soviet republic has been included on since 2006.
And yet, four key members of the Uzbek government were in Washington on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the State Department’s first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, in order to showcase the country’s newfound commitment to take religious freedom seriously.