• USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett. Message from the chair.

  • USCIRF Commissioners meet with the Honorable David Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. January 16, 2015. 

  • USCIRF Policy Analyst Tina Mufford and Burmese civil society and human rights advocate Zin Mar Aung briefed Congressional staffs and NGOs on "Burma: The Ongoing Abuses against Religious and Ethnic Minorities," December 3, 2014.

  • USCIRF Commissioner Hannah Rosenthal speaks at the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Event of the 2004 OSCE Berlin Meeting on anti-Semitism attended by Ambassador Power and U.S. NGOs, November 14, 2014, Berlin.

  • USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett, Commissioner Mary Ann Glendon, and Executive Director Jackie Wolcott with parliamentarians at the launch of the International Parliamentary Coalition to Advance Religious Freedom, November 8, 2014, Oslo. 

  • USCIRF Commissioner Thomas J. Reese and staff meet with Central African Republic interfaith leaders, November 12, 2014. 

  • Dwight Bashir, USCIRF Deputy Director for Policy and Research, speaks at a Stimson Center event on the escalating Shi'a-Sunni conflict, October 28, 2014. 

  • USCIRF Executive Director Jackie Wolcott and policy director Knox Thames meet with Mujeeb-ur-Rahman to discuss religious freedom concerns in Pakistan, October 14, 2014.

  • USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett with Peter Van Dalen, co-chair of the European Parliament's Working Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, September 30, 2014. 

  • USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett testifies before a House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on "Protecting International Religious Freedom," September 18, 2014. 

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.

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

Spotlight

Many countries around the world have laws that punish expression deemed blasphemous, defamatory of religion, or contemptuous or insulting to religion or religious symbols, figures, or feelings.  The application of these laws has resulted in individuals being jailed for merely expressing a different religious belief or being falsely accused.

In January 2015, USCIRF issued a press release, USCIRF Statement on flogging of Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi.  From the press release: 

“Raif Badawi was the victim of a cruel and barbaric act carried out by the Saudi justice system – unfortunately, business as usual in the Kingdom.  And for nothing more than creating an online forum for diverse views to be expressed freely.”

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The Religious Violence Project

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has launched the Religious Violence Project to highlight violations of religious freedom abroad. Learn more here

August 2014 Factsheet: Violence Towards Religious Communities in Pakistan

USCIRF Staff Perspectives

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.

Testimony of USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George on One Year Under Rouhani: Iran’s Abysmal Human Rights Record

USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George testified on June 19 before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at a hearing entitled “One Year Under Rouhani: Iran’s Abysmal Human Rights Record.”

From the testimony:

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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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