Welcome to USCIRF

  • Welcome to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) webpage! Click here to learn more about the work of USCIRF. Click here to learn more about the Commissioners of USCIRF.

  • On August 8, 2017, USCIRF Commissioners met with Kurdistan Regional Government representatives, including Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, KRG Representative to the United States, to discuss concerns and progress captured in USCIRF's Wilting in the Kurdish Sun report. Click here to view the report

  • 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 Chairman Daniel Mark spoke at the annual 7/20 Falun Gong rally on Capitol Hill, July 20, 2017. Click here to read his remarks

  • USCIRF Vice Chairs Arriaga and Jolley meet with Baroness Elizabeth Berridge and others at the British Parliament to discuss religious freedom and women’s rights, July 2017. Click here to see USCIRF's new report on the synergies and opportunities between women's rights and religious freedom.

  • 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.

What's New at USCIRF

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivering remarks on the 2016 International Religious Freedom Report.

Covering 2016, this publication documents religious freedom conditions in almost 200 countries, including some of the most repressive governments in the world. USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark noted: "The State Department’s report is an important resource on religious freedom conditions globally." read more
USCIRF released a report that shows how blasphemy laws around the world fall short of international human rights benchmarks. The report details laws spanning the globe from countries such as Canada and Switzerland to Iran and Indonesia with penalties ranging from fines to death. USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark states that blasphemy laws “invite abuse and can lead to assaults, murders, and mob attacks." read more

Commissioner Clifford D. May speaking in support of Maryam Naghash Zagaran

USCIRF welcomed the release of Iranian religious prisoner of conscience Maryam Naghash Zargaran. A Christian convert from Islam, Ms. Zargaran was sentenced in 2013 to four years’ imprisonment on charges of “propagating against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security.” Commissioner Clifford D. May: Maryam's case exemplified Iran's "flagrant disregard for religious freedom."  read more
Did you know 71 of the world's 195 countries have blasphemy laws? Penalties for violating blasphemy laws in these countries can range from fines to imprisonment and death. USCIRF’s groundbreaking report examines and compares the content of laws prohibiting blasphemy worldwide. read more
USCIRF strongly condemns the irresponsible and hostile actions taken against Uighur Muslims in Egypt. The government of Egypt continues a campaign of rounding up and deporting these individuals back to China, a country with a record of harsh repression of the Uighur community.  USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark said, “These latest moves show a calculated indifference to the Uighur Muslim community.” 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:

Click here for information on Fariba Kamalabadi and religious freedom conditions in Iran.
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. 

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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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