Welcome to USCIRF

  • During the week of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, USCIRF is hosting two events. Click here for more.

  • The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) unanimously elected Dr. Tenzin Dorjee as its Chair and Kristina Arriaga and Gayle Manchin as its Vice Chairs. Read more here.

  • women religious freedom

    Read the May 2018 Policy Focus on Women and Religious Freedom here.

  • USCIRF is seeking assistance with research on various issues. See contract opportunities here

  • 2018 Annual Report

    On April 25, USCIRF released its 2018 Annual Report. Click here for the press release, or here to view the full report.

  • USCIRF welcomed the State Department’s naming of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs) for severe religious freedom violations.  This group comprises nations that violate religious freedom in a “systematic, ongoing, egregious” manner and includes Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The USCIRF Press Release may be found here.  The State Department announcement may be found here.

What's New at USCIRF

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned a Turkish court’s decision to return Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American citizen and leader of a small Protestant Christian church, to prison to await a fourth hearing on October 12, 2018. Pastor Brunson has been unjustly detained in Turkey since October 7, 2016 on false terrorism and espionage related charges. USCIRF Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga attended today’s hearing in Aliaga, Turkey. USCIRF has condemned the charges against Pastor Brunson and has called for his immediate release. read more
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will host a reception at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Wednesday, July 25, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), announced USCIRF chair Dr. Tenzin Dorjee today. The reception at USIP will be held on July 25 from 5:00-7:00 p.m during the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. This is an invitation-only event. On Thursday, July 26, USCIRF will also host a grant workshop for civil society organizations. read more
During the week of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, USCIRF will be hosting a reception at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a grant writing workshop at the Government Publishing Office. read more
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns Sunday’s terrorist attack that killed more than 20 people in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. This attack, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, targeted members of Afghanistan’s minority Hindu and Sikh communities, including Sikh candidate for parliament Awtar Singh Khalsa, who was killed in the attack. read more
WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) last week appointed Dr. Andy Khawaja to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). 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:
Raif Badawi (Saudi Arabi
 

 
 
Click here for information on Raif Badawi and religious freedom conditions in Saudi Arabia.
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.

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Tweets from @USCIRF

USCIRF Focus: Blasphemy Laws

Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws catalogs the offending laws found in a wide range of countries. In some countries, blasphemy laws are enforced weakly, if at all, yet such laws, “in both theory and practice, harm individuals and societies.” 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. Surprisingly, more than one-third of the world’s nations have blasphemy laws today.

Selected Blasphemy Cases seeks to put a human face on blasphemy laws. The individuals highlighted here are only a sample of those who have been negatively impacted by blasphemy laws. For some we have pictures, but for many we do not. Read their stories, the charges against them, and their sentences to better understand the devastating impact of these laws and the need for repeal.

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, as shown in Women and Religious Freedom: Synergies and Opportunities. FoRB is neither a right of “religion” as such, nor an instrument for support of religiously phrased limitations on women’s rights to equality. Harmful practices affecting women and girls cannot be accepted as legitimate manifestations of FoRB because the assertion of one human rights claim cannot be used to extinguish other rights.

Country Update - Burma: April 2018

In November 2017, USCIRF Commissioners and staff traveled to Burma (also known as Myanmar) to meet with government officials, civil society, and religious representatives in Rangoon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw. In January 2018, USCIRF staff traveled to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to gather information on the situation of Rohingya Muslim refugees.

This document provides an overview of what USCIRF learned during these visits about the religious freedom challenges Burma faces and violations specific to Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

USCIRF Study Reveals Numerous Passages in Saudi Textbooks Inciting Violence and Intolerance

In a new study of select textbooks currently in use in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) uncovered content promoting violence and hatred toward religious minorities and others. While the Saudi government has been engaged in textbook reform for the last 15 years, the presence of these passages makes clear how little progress has been made and highlights an immediate need for the Saudi government to more seriously address this issue, as well as the exportation of these textbooks internationally, as a part of its ambitious reform process.

USCIRF Summit on International Religious Freedom

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a summit commemorating the 20th anniversary of the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998The summit will include a plenary to discuss the “State of the Union” of international religious freedom followed by two panels featuring distinguished guests discussing strategies for achieving positive change for religious freedom and prisoners of conscience around the world.

USCIRF Strongly Condemns New Indictment Against Pastor Andrew Brunson, Including Possible Life Sentence

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns a new indictment issued by Turkish prosecutors this week charging Pastor Andrew Brunson with “leadership in a terrorist organization” and seeking a possible life sentence in his case. Pastor Brunson is an American citizen and the leader of a small Protestant Christian church in the city of Izmir, Turkey, where he has served for over 22 years. He was detained on October 7, 2016 and accused by Turkish officials of membership in an armed terrorist organization, though official charges have not yet been released to the public. 

Congressional Staff Briefing - Women and Religious Freedom: Synergies and Opportunities

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a briefing on Capitol Hill on the synergies and opportunities for defending and promoting women's right to equality and international religious freedom. This briefing will take place on Friday, March 16, from 9:30 - 10:30 AM in room 2400 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

USCIRF Concerned by Denial of Lautenberg Refugees from Iran

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is concerned by recent reports that roughly 100 members of Iranian religious minorities, who sought resettlement to the United States, have been denied asylum and could be returned to Iran where they may face discrimination and persecution.The refugees, most of whom are reported to be Assyrian or Armenian Christians, were seeking refuge in the United States under the Lautenberg Amendment. The Lautenberg Amendment, enacted in 1990, was expanded in 2004 to allow members of Iranian religious minorities, including Christians, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, and others, to apply for refugee status under a special category in recognition of their status as persecuted minorities.

USCIRF Mourns Death of Leading Pakistani Human Rights Defender

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) was deeply saddened to learn of the death on Sunday of Ms. Asma Jahangir, a leading human rights defender in Pakistan and a former United Nations expert on freedom of religion or belief. “Ms. Jahangir was an outspoken critic of the Pakistani government’s misuse of blasphemy laws, particularly targeting Ahmadis and Christians,” said USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark. “She did this despite great risk to her own personal safety. She will always be remembered as a fearless advocate for human rights both in Pakistan and around the globe.”

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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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