Welcome to USCIRF

  • USCIRF released a new report on July 17, 2017 titled Women and Religious Freedom: Synergies and Opportunities. While a common misperception persists that women’s rights to equality and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) are clashing rights, the two are actually indivisible and interrelated, the new report finds.

  • USCIRF Executive Director Erin Singshinsuk spoke at the 69th annual Jalsa Salana Ahmadiyya Muslim conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on July 15, 2017. Photo courtesty of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA . 

  • USCIRF Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee testified on July 12, 2017 before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on "Tibet: Religious Freedom." Click here to read his testimony. Click here to watch the hearing. Pictured: Commissioner Dorjee holds up a photo of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima – The Panchen Lama. Commissioner Dorjee is advocating on behalf of the Panchen Lama as part of USCIRF's Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project

  • USCIRF Vice Chair Sandra Jolley and Commissioners Tenzin Dorjee and Jackie Wolcott meet with Arjia Rinpoche to discuss religious freedom for Tibetan Buddhists in China, July 11, 2017. 

  • USCIRF released a new report on June 1, 2017 titled : Wilting in the Kurdish Sun: The Hopes and Fears of Religious Minorities in Northern Iraq. Click here to read the report

  • On July 6, USCIRF Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga (right) and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott (left) met with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa of Tibet (center) to discuss religious freedom for Tibetan Buddhists in China.

  • On June 30, USCIRF Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga (3rd from left) and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott (back row to the right of the flag) met with a Vietnamese Delegation from Boat People SOS to discuss religious freedom and the treatment of religious minorities in Vietnam.

  • USCIRF sent the following letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to maintain sanctions on Sudan for religious freedom violations. Since South Sudan's secession in 2011, USCIRF has documented a deterioration of religious freedom conditions in Sudan year after year. During this period, the Sudanese government has arrested nearly 200 Christians, including 14 religious leaders. 

  • Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott meet with Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, to discuss areas of mutual interests, June 22, 2017

  • USCIRF Vice Chair Sandra Jolley speaks at the Coptic Solidarity 8th Annual Conference, June 15, 2017. 

What's New at USCIRF

Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J. speaks in support of Eritrean Patriarch Abune Antonios

Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J.: I implore the Eritrean government to do the right thing: Release Patriarch Antonios. Allow him to take his duly elected position as the head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and let the Eritrean people exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief. read more
USCIRF denounces the Russian Supreme Court ruling on Monday rejecting an appeal by the Jehovah’s Witnesses against an April decision declaring them as extremist. read more
While a common misperception persists that women’s rights to equality and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) are clashing rights, the two are actually indivisible and interrelated, a new USCIRF report finds. read more
Mr. Shakoor is an 80-year-old Ahmadi manager of a bookshop and optician store who was sentenced to eight years imprisonment on blasphemy charges. Chairman Mark is advocating on behalf of Mr. Shakoor as part of USCIRF's Prisoners of Conscience Project read more

USCIRF Vice Chair Sandra Jolley speaks in support of Chinese prisoner of conscience Gulmira Imin.

Dear Gulmira:I write to you as July 14th comes to an end.  On that day eight years ago, as you know all too well, Chinese government officials arrested you.  While this open letter may never reach you, I want you to know that as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, I am ardently advocating on your behalf. read more

Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project

USCIRF's Religious Prisoner of Conscience Project highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, as well as the dedicated advocacy of USCIRF Commissioners working for their release. Please click the photos below for more information on the prisoners, and the Commissioners' efforts on their behalfs.
 
Featured Religious Prisoner:

USCIRF Commissioner Jackie Wolcott: “As long as [Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh] remains in prison and as long as authorities unfairly treat his family, I will publicly and privately raise their case so that one day soon they may be reunited in safety and be able to practice their faith freely.”

Click here for information on Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh and Tran Thi Hong and religious freedom conditions in Vietnam.

Click here to watch the launch of the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. 

USCIRF Religious Prisoners of Conscience

 

 

Prisoner of Conscience List

Click here for USCIRF's Prisoner of Conscience List which is mandated by Public Law 114-281, the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act.

2017 Annual Report

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2017 Annual Report on April 25, 2017.

In the report, USCIRF recommends that the State Department continue to designate the following ten countries as “countries of particular concern,” defined under law as countries where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are tolerated or perpetrated: BurmaChinaEritreaIranNorth KoreaSaudi ArabiaSudanTajikistanTurkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

USCIRF also finds that six other countries meet the CPC standard and should be so designated: Central African RepublicNigeriaPakistanRussiaSyria, and Vietnam.

Wilting in the Kurdish Sun

USCIRF on June 1, 2017 released a report titled Wilting in the Kurdish Sun: The Hopes and Fears of Religious Minorities in Iraq. This groundbreaking report is the first independent report of its kind to involve in-person interviews with representatives of almost all the religious minority groups in the KRI.

The report notes that "the KRI remains far more welcoming and tolerant to minorities that its regional neighbors" and expresses hope that special effort will be taken to "preserve [the] freedoms and rights" of minorities.

Click here to read the report.

Religion News Service - Stripped of his title and illegally replaced, Eritrea’s spiritual leader languishes in detention

Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J.: I implore the Eritrean government to do the right thing: Release Patriarch Antonios. Allow him to take his duly elected position as the head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and let the Eritrean people exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief.

Open Letter from USCIRF Vice Chair Sandra Jolley to Gulmira Imin on the 8th Anniversary of Her Arrest

Dear Gulmira:I write to you as July 14th comes to an end.  On that day eight years ago, as you know all too well, Chinese government officials arrested you.  While this open letter may never reach you, I want you to know that as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, I am ardently advocating on your behalf.

Testimony of Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee on "Tibet: Freedom of Religion"

In his testimony Commissioner Dorjee discussed his personal story of fleeing Tibet and the Chinese government's repression of Tibetan Buddhists, including the demolition of the Larung Gar Buddhist academy and the detention of religious prisoners of conscience. Commissioner Dorjee also provided recommendations to the U.S. Congress and Administration. 

SUDAN: USCIRF Urges Secretary of State to Maintain Sanctions

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a May 30 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on him to “take steps to address severe violations of religious freedom and other human rights” in Sudan.  In the letter, USCIRF called on Secretary Tillerson to maintain existing sanctions on the Sudanese government due to deteriorating religious freedom conditions.

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About the Commission

Who We Are

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

What We're About

Inherent in religious freedom is the right to think as we please, believe or not believe as our conscience leads, and live out our beliefs openly, peacefully, and without fear.

We are about freedom

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