Welcome to USCIRF

  • 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

  • Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott meet with Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, to discuss areas of mutual interests, June 22, 2017

  • USCIRF Vice Chair Sandra Jolley speaks at the Coptic Solidarity 8th Annual Conference, June 15, 2017. 

  • Click here to learn more about the Commissioners of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, April 2017

  • USCIRF Commissioner Kristina Arriaga spoke at a Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs event on "Best Practices in International Religious Freedom Policy," June 6, 2017.  

  • USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and Vice Chairman Daniel Mark meet with Pakistan Federal Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael, May 2017

  • USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. testified on May 24, 2017 before a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing titled "Freedom of Belief: Countering Religious Violence." Click here to read Chair Reese's testimonyClick here to watch the hearing

  • USCIRF hosted an event on May 17, 2017 titled "The State of International Religious Freedom." Commissioners discussed findings and recommendations from its 2017 Annual Report, in addition to the newly launched Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. Click here to watch the event

  • USCIRF Commissioner Sandra Jolley meets with representatives from Boat People SOS to discuss religious freedom in Vietnam, May 15, 2017 

  • USCIRF Commissioner Kristina Arriaga speaks at a U.S. Baha'i event commemorating nine years of imprisonment of the Baha'i Seven in Iran, May 11, 2017.

What's New at USCIRF

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. read more
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.”  read more
H.R. 390 would promote accountability for atrocities committed by ISIS and address the urgent humanitarian needs of persecuted religious and/or ethnic minorities targeted for genocide. read more

Dr. Firuz Kazemzadeh (right) at a USCIRF hearing on Sudan in 2000.

USCIRF was saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Firuz Kazemzadeh, one of the first Commissioners appointed to USCIRF Dr. Kazemzadeh was also a professor emeritus of history at Yale, a distinguished member of the American Baha’i community, and a tireless champion of international religious freedom. read more
USCIRF's new groundbreaking report, the first of its kind to involve in-person interviews with representatives of almost all religious minority groups in the KRI, notes that "the KRI remains far more welcoming and tolerant to minorities than its regional neighbors" and expresses hope that special effort will be taken to "preserve [the] freedoms and rights" of minorities. 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:
Commissioner Thomas J. Reese: "I have chosen to work on behalf of Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios whom the Eritrean government has imprisoned...Patriarch Antonios deserves to spend the last years of his life in freedom. I will work tirelessly to that end."
Click here for Chair Reese's full statement on Patriarch Antonios 
 
Click here for information on Patriarch Antonios and religious freedom conditions in Eritrea.
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 add these ten countries to its list of “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.

EGYPT: USCIRF Condemns Terrorist Attack at Coptic Cathedral; Urges Protection for Community and End to Impunity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the brutal attack at Cairo’s main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.  Twenty-four worshippers were killed and 49 wounded: many of those murdered were women and children. USCIRF sends condolences to the family and friends of the victims and wishes those wounded a speedy recovery. 

PAKISTAN: USCIRF Condemns Egregious Treatment of Ahmadis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the raid by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on the publications and audit offices of the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab province.  During this raid, which took place on December 5, police beat and arrested several Ahmadis who later were charged under provisions in Pakistan’s penal code and Anti-Terrorism Act.   

CUBA: After Fidel Castro

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, DC – With the passing of Fidel Castro on November 25, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urges the Cuban government to take a long hard look at his legacy, especially with regard to the oppressive treatment of religion which has marked the country’s history since Castro's rise to power in 1959. 

From Sinjar to Mosul

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 10, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As coalition forces begin the liberation of Mosul, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) notes that November 13 is the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Sinjar from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Pages

Subscribe to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom RSS

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

Tools & Resources