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.

  • Cuban religious freedom activist Felix Yuniel Llerena Lopez met with Commissioner Thomas Reese, Chairman Daniel Mark, Vice Chairwoman Kristina Arriaga, Commissioner Jackie Wolcott, Vice Chairwoman Sandra Jolley, and Commissioner John Ruskay to express his gratitude for USCIRF’s advocacy on his behalf. Representatives from the Patmos Institute provided an update on religious freedom conditions in Cuba and shared their submission for Cuba’s 2018 Universal Periodic Review.

  • USCIRF Vice Chairwomen Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga, and Commissioners Jackie Walcott and Thomas Reese met with UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Prof. Karima Bennoune and representatives from the non-profit, governmental, and academic sectors for a private roundtable discussion on women and religious freedom. Read more about USCIRF's work on women and religious freedom here.

     

  • USCIRF is proud to announce its new “Policy Update” series. This periodic publication will include information and analysis related to the status of religious freedom in the countries USCIRF monitors. This Policy Update focuses on religious freedom conditions in Iraq. Read the Policy Update here.

  • USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark spoke to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe about religious freedom in the OSCE region. Watch the briefing and read Chairman Daniel Mark's statement here.

  • Senator James Lankford (center), USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark (left), and Vice Chairwoman Sandra Jolley (not pictured) participated in a briefing on Turkey Today: Taking the Temperature of Religious Freedom and Human Rights.  Watch the recorded briefing here.

  • In November, USCIRF Vice Chairwoman Kristina Arriaga (3rd from left), Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee (4th from left), and Senior Policy Analyst Tina Mufford, along with Political Officer Sean Smith of the U.S. Embassy, met with Minister of Religious Affairs & Culture Thura U Aung Ko (4th from right) during a Commission trip to Burma (Myanmar).  

  • UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Prof. Karima Bennoune met with Commissioner Thomas Reese, Vice Chair Sandra Jolley, and Chairman Daniel Mark to discuss her mandate and her work on women's rights. Read about USCIRF's work on women and religious freedom here.

  • USCIRF Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J. spoke to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about religious freedom in Vietnam.  To his left is USCIRF-adopted religious prisoner of conscience Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh and his wife Tran Thi Hong.  Read Father Reese's statement here.

  • On October 25, USCIRF Commissioner Tom Reese, Director of Policy Dwight Bashir, and Policy Analyst Jomana Qaddour met with a delegation of Syrian Christian leaders concerned about the fate of their communities in war-torn Syria. Read USCIRF’s annual report chapter about Syria.

What's New at USCIRF

The next year will be a pivotal one in Iraq. The U.S.-led fight against ISIS has yielded significant success. The military battle to defeat ISIS, a group which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed was “clearly responsible for genocide,” has come to an end. In September 2017, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held its independence referendum, which passed with 92 percent voting in favor. The implications of the referendum for Iraq’s religious minority communities, especially those living under KRG-controlled areas or in the Disputed Internal Boundaries, remain unclear.  read more
Throughout 2017, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has promoted its 50th year of existence, marked on August 8. The regional bloc comprising 10 countries has grown and integrated in ways hardly dreamed of five decades ago. But to this day, ASEAN lacks cohesion on human rights issues and, in particular, has a flawed record protecting freedom of religion or belief, both as a collective regional bloc and as individual Member States. The good news is that ASEAN possesses both the raw materials and the incentive to turn its record around. read more
Join the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ambassador Kozak, USCIRF Chairman Dr. Daniel Mark, and other experts at a briefing discussing religious freedom violations in the OSCE region. read more
USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark said that “failing to designate CPCs tells the violators of religious freedom around the world that the United States is looking away.  The State Department should make such designations without delay.” read more
USCIRF, in conjunction with Senator James Lankford, is pleased to invite you to a briefing on TURKEY TODAY: Taking the Temperature of Religious Freedom and Human Rights.  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.

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.

USCIRF on Release of International Religious Freedom Report and Nomination of Ambassador-at-Large

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.

China Criticized for Banning Ramadan Fast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2014 | USCIRF

WASHINGTON, DC – As Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan, Uighur Muslims in China face far-reaching restrictions on their religious practices.  The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urges the Chinese government to end such actions, including bans on fasting and other religious observances during Ramadan in China’s autonomous region of Xinjiang, a Uighur Muslim-majority area. 

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett Elected USCIRF Chair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2014 | USCIRF

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, was elected on July 1, 2014 as Chair of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).  Dr. Swett was first appointed to the Commission in March 2012 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and reappointed in April 2014. 

Sudan: Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Detained Again

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2014 | USCIRF

The U.S. Commission on  International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is gravely concerned about the Sudanese government’s arrest of Meriam Ibrahim Ishag on document fraud charges and her being held with her family at a Khartoum police station following their June 24 detention at Khartoum’s airport as they sought to leave the country. USCIRF calls on the Sudanese government to release them immediately and has lodged a strong protest with the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C.

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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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