Welcome to USCIRF

  • The Commission believes that when dis­cussing blasphemy, it is important to focus on the real people impacted, and not just the laws themselves. This report, Selected Blasphemy Cases -- highlights a selection of individuals imprisoned or imperiled because of blasphemy laws.  See USCIRF’s report on global blasphemy laws here.

  • "The deprivation of [Rohingya Muslims’] rights—by both government and societal actors—is one of the most profound human rights tragedies of the 21st Century." USCIRF Report December 2016

  • 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.

  • Join Human Rights Watch (HRW) experts and USCIRF's Director of Policy and Research, Dwight Bashir, for a staff briefing on Saudi textbooks and intolerance and hate speech, including insights from the upcoming HRW report They Are Not Our Brothers: Hate Speech by Saudi Officials.  This report will be available soon at www.HRW.org. More here.

  • 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

  • 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 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

What's New at USCIRF

Vice Chairwoman Arriaga (r) and USCIRF’s Executive Director, Erin Singshinsuk (l) hold up Ms. Sabet’s artwork.

“Mahvash Sabet has been unjustly imprisoned under terrible conditions simply for daring to practice her religion and educate her fellow Baha’is. Mahvash’s courage in the face of persecution and her dedication to her faith are truly inspiring,” said USCIRF Vice Chairwoman Kristina Arriaga read more
SELECTED BLASPHEMY CASES Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws, a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, documents the 71 countries – ranging from Canada to Pakistan – that have blasphemy laws (as of June 2016). 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. read more
USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark said, “Michael Cromartie embodied the effort to integrate religious values with public policy – at both the domestic and international level.  We owe him a debt of gratitude for championing an open and honest discourse about the role of religion and belief in a public policy and political context.” read more
USCIRF strongly condemns attacks on civilians and security forces in Burma’s Rakhine State.  Hundreds have been killed and approximately 300,000 Rohingya Muslims recently have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.  This number is expected to grow in the days and weeks ahead.  Burma’s security forces have razed entire villages, slaughtered families, and even placed landmines in the path of fleeing refugees, creating “a staggering humanitarian disaster,” according to USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark. read more

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

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 Bagir Kazikhanov and religious freedom conditions in Russia.
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.

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.

USCIRF Elects Daniel Mark as Commission Chairman; Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga as Vice Chairs

At its June 13 meeting, USCIRF commissioners elected Daniel Mark as the Commission’s new chairman.  Dr. Mark is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and battalion professor for Villanova’s Navy ROTC unit. In response to his election, Chairman Mark said, “I am greatly honored by the confidence shown in me by my fellow commissioners. I look forward to enhancing USCIRF’s role and voice in monitoring violations and recommending ways U.S. policy can play an even stronger role.” 

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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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