What's New at USCIRF
USCIRF's 2014 Annual Report
USCIRF Issues its 2014 Annual Report
15th Anniversary Retrospective: Renewing the Commitment
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal advisory body the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) created to monitor religious freedom abuses abroad, today released its 2014 Annual Report, and recommended that the State Department add eight more nations to its list of “countries of particular concern,” defined under law as countries where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are tolerated or perpetrated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.
USCIRF also recommended that the following eight countries be re-designated as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.
Defending Freedoms Project
In December 2012, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Amnesty International USA, launched the Defending Freedoms Project with the aim of supporting human rights and religious freedom throughout the world with a particular focus on prisoners of conscience.
Specifically, Members of Congress “adopt” prisoners of conscience, standing in solidarity with these brave men and women, while committing to advocate publicly for their release.
Click here to find more information on the Defending Freedoms Project.
Top Row: Agnes Uwimana Nkusi – Rwanda , Saeed Abedini – Iran, Father Nguyen Van Ly – Vietnam
Middle Row: Gao Zhisheng – China, Nabeel Rajab – Bahrain
Bottom Row: Mahvash Sabet – Iran, Asia Bibi – Pakistan, Dawit Issac – Eritrea.
International Coalition Formed
The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief was formally launched in Oslo, Norway on November 8, 2014. This network of parliamentarians from around the world is committed to advocating for religious freedom. Participants signed the Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief and have committed to its principles.
USCIRF’s report, “Burma: Religious Freedom and Related Human Rights Violations are Hindering Broader Reforms,” reflects findings from a Commissioner-level visit in August 2014. In the report released in November, USCIRF urges the U.S. government to press Burma to permit humanitarian access to Rohingya Muslims and revise the Rakhine State Action Plan to ensure that Rohingya will not be denied citizenship. USCIRF also urges the U.S. to press for the rights of all minority religious communities and for U.S. officials to use the term “Rohingya” in recognition of that community’s right to self-identify. Additional recommendations can be found in the report.
The Religious Violence Project
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August 6, 2014 | USCIRF
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
July 30, 2014 | By Katrina Lantos Swett and M. Zuhdi Jasser
The following op-ed appeared on RNS on July 29, 2014
While last month marked the 25th anniversary of China’s silencing freedom in Tiananmen Square, this month China has been cementing this grim legacy — particularly regarding religious freedom.
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July 29, 2014 | USCIRF
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of State yesterday released its 2013 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom and made designations of “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The White House also announced their nominee for the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Saperstein.
USCIRF Vice Chair Dr. Zuhdi Jasser testified on July 23 before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at a hearing entitled “The Troubling Case of Meriam Ibrahim.”
From the testimony:
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…