Welcome to USCIRF

  • USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and Commissioners Kristina Arriaga and Jackie Wolcott meet with a delegation of Cuban religious leaders. From left to right: Félix Yuniel Llerena López, Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, Raudel García Bringas, and Rev. Yiorvis Bravo Denis, April 20, 2017.

  • USCIRF launched its Prisoners of Conscience Project on April 6, 2017. The 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. 

  • Click here to learn more about the Commissioners of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, April 2017

  • USCIRF Chair Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. Welcome to USCIRF

  • USCIRF Commissioners meet with UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, April 5, 2017.

  • USCIRF Commissioners meet with representatives from the Baha'is of the United States and relatives of Baha'is imprisoned in Iran for their beliefts, April 5, 2017.

  • Commissioner Jackie Wolcott meets with Grover Joseph Rees, Ambassador, Retired and Nguyen Dinh Thanh of Boat People SOS about Vietnamese prisoner of conscience Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, March 31, 2017

  • USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott met with a Coptic Solidarity delegation to discuss the plight of Copts in Egypt, March 22, 2017.

  • USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott meet with a Nigerian delegation of National Assembly Members, March 23, 2017

    USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott meet with a Nigerian delegation of National Assembly Members, March 22, 2017.

  • USCIRF Commissioner Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz with Representative Chris Smith and Pastor Edward Awabdeh of Damascus, Syria at an International Religious Freedom Caucus event titled "Iraq and Syria after ISIS and the Fate of Religious Minorities," March 21, 2017. 

USCIRF 2016 Annual Report

United States Commission on International Religious FreedomThe U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2016 Annual Report on May 2, 2016. In the report, USCIRF recommends that the State Department add these eight countries to its list of “countries of particular concern,” defined under law as countries where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are tolerated or perpetrated: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.

USCIRF also recommends that the following nine countries be re-designated as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

In addition, USCIRF also recommends ten countries as Tier 2 Countries, those countries whose governments engages in or tolerates at least one of the elements of the "systematic, ongoing, and egregious" standard, but do not fully meet the CPC standard: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Turkey. Other Countries Monitored include: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Horn of Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Western Europe.

Barriers to Protection

Report cover of Barriers to Protection

USCIRF on August 2, 2016 released a new report, Barriers to Protection: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal, which highlights serious problems with the U.S. government's treatment of asylum seekers in Expedited Removal. View the report here. USCIRF presented findings from the report at an August 3, 2016 event with Human Rights First. Watch the event here

Prisoner of Conscience Project

USCIRF's 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. Click the below photos for more information on the prisoners, and the Commissioners' efforts on their behalfs.
             Iran                             Eritrea                        China
        
Maryam Naghash Zargaran   Patriarch Abune Antonios     Gulmira Imin
                                Burma                          Saudi Arabia
       
             Zaw Zaw Latt and Pwint Phyu Latt            Raif Badawi
                Iran                           Russia                        Iran        
           
      Fariba Kamalabadi             Bagir Kazikhanov             Mahvash Sabet
                    China                                   Vietnam
     
          Gedhun Choekyi Nyima    Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh and Tran Thi Hong

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.

Defending Freedoms Project

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in conjuntion with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Amnesty International USA, created the Defending Freedoms Project to support prisoners of conscience around the world.

The Defending Freedoms Project seeks to increase attention to human rights and religious freedom abuses by encouraging Members of Congress to advocate on behalf of prisoners of conscience worldwide. Through this project, Members of Congress stand in solidarity with prisoners of conscience, letting them know they have not been forgotten, and encourage accountability for their unjust treatment.

Click here for more information on the Defending Freedoms Project and to view prisoner profiles.

IRAN: USCIRF Condemns Religious Freedom Violations against Baha’is

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 23, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The UN General Assembly on December 19 passed its 14th consecutive resolution which included a condemnation of the Iranian government’s actions against the Baha’i community, underscoring the persecution and discrimination members of this peaceful religious community have faced for decades.

EGYPT: USCIRF Condemns Terrorist Attack at Coptic Cathedral; Urges Protection for Community and End to Impunity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the brutal attack at Cairo’s main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.  Twenty-four worshippers were killed and 49 wounded: many of those murdered were women and children. USCIRF sends condolences to the family and friends of the victims and wishes those wounded a speedy recovery. 

PAKISTAN: USCIRF Condemns Egregious Treatment of Ahmadis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the raid by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on the publications and audit offices of the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab province.  During this raid, which took place on December 5, police beat and arrested several Ahmadis who later were charged under provisions in Pakistan’s penal code and Anti-Terrorism Act.   

CUBA: After Fidel Castro

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, DC – With the passing of Fidel Castro on November 25, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urges the Cuban government to take a long hard look at his legacy, especially with regard to the oppressive treatment of religion which has marked the country’s history since Castro's rise to power in 1959. 

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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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