What's New at USCIRF
USCIRF 2016 Annual Report
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2016 Annual Report on May 2, 2016. In the report, USCIRF recommends that the State Department add these eight 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: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
USCIRF also recommends that the following nine countries be re-designated as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
In addition, USCIRF also recommends ten countries as Tier 2 Countries, those countries whose governments engages in or tolerates at least one of the elements of the "systematic, ongoing, and egregious" standard, but do not fully meet the CPC standard: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Turkey. Other Countries Monitored include: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Horn of Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Western Europe.
Barriers to Protection
USCIRF on August 2, 2016 released a new report, Barriers to Protection: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal, which highlights serious problems with the U.S. government's treatment of asylum seekers in Expedited Removal. View the report here. USCIRF presented findings from the report at an August 3, 2016 event with Human Rights First. Watch the event here.
Europe at a Crossroad
USCIRF held an event on April 11, 2016 at the National Press Club entitled "Europe at a Crossroad: Civil Society Efforts to Combat Religious Hatred and Bigotry in Europe." The event featured a keynote address by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, a panel of European civil society leaders, and remarks by USCIRF Commissioners.
Teaching Intolerance in Pakistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) solemnly marks the one-year anniversary on February 26 of the brutal murder of Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American secular blogger. Attackers wielding machetes killed Roy after he left a book fair during a visit to Dhaka. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, survived the attack with serious wounds.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom sent the following letter to Secretary Kerry on January 25, 2016.
Dear Secretary Kerry:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the arrest, detention, and sentencing of Abul Shakoor, an 80-year-old optician, for propagating the Ahmadiyya Muslim faith, which is banned in Pakistan.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) solemnly marks the 10 year anniversary tomorrow of the illegal removal and detention of Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios as head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the execution on January 2 of a prominent Shi’a cleric in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a vocal government critic and an activist for democratic reforms in the Kingdom, was a staunch advocate of equal rights for the Shi’a Muslim population in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh al-Nimr, whose case USCIRF has reported on in recent years, was among the 47 men executed that day.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The media worldwide recently reported that Muslims in northern Kenya bravely refused to identify the Christians among them so that al-Shabaab terrorists, who were holding them all at gunpoint, could murder these Christians. That this report has received such broad coverage is significant and has particular resonance during this holiday season, as we look back at the past year and toward a new year.
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…