Welcome to USCIRF

  • During the week of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, USCIRF is hosting two events. Click here for more.

  • The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) unanimously elected Dr. Tenzin Dorjee as its Chair and Kristina Arriaga and Gayle Manchin as its Vice Chairs. Read more here.

  • women religious freedom

    Read the May 2018 Policy Focus on Women and Religious Freedom here.

  • USCIRF is seeking assistance with research on various issues. See contract opportunities here

  • 2018 Annual Report

    On April 25, USCIRF released its 2018 Annual Report. Click here for the press release, or here to view the full report.

  • USCIRF welcomed the State Department’s naming of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs) for severe religious freedom violations.  This group comprises nations that violate religious freedom in a “systematic, ongoing, egregious” manner and includes Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The USCIRF Press Release may be found here.  The State Department announcement may be found here.

What's New at USCIRF

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned a Turkish court’s decision to return Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American citizen and leader of a small Protestant Christian church, to prison to await a fourth hearing on October 12, 2018. Pastor Brunson has been unjustly detained in Turkey since October 7, 2016 on false terrorism and espionage related charges. USCIRF Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga attended today’s hearing in Aliaga, Turkey. USCIRF has condemned the charges against Pastor Brunson and has called for his immediate release. read more
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will host a reception at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Wednesday, July 25, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), announced USCIRF chair Dr. Tenzin Dorjee today. The reception at USIP will be held on July 25 from 5:00-7:00 p.m during the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. This is an invitation-only event. On Thursday, July 26, USCIRF will also host a grant workshop for civil society organizations. read more
During the week of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, USCIRF will be hosting a reception at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a grant writing workshop at the Government Publishing Office. read more
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns Sunday’s terrorist attack that killed more than 20 people in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. This attack, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, targeted members of Afghanistan’s minority Hindu and Sikh communities, including Sikh candidate for parliament Awtar Singh Khalsa, who was killed in the attack. read more
WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) last week appointed Dr. Andy Khawaja to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). 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.

Subscribe to our mailing lists

* indicates required
Subscription options

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.

Policy Update - Iraq Brief: Winter 2017

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. 

Policy Update- Flawed But Redeemable: ASEAN’S Record on Freedom of Religion or Belief

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.

Policy Update: Sudan-The Shrinking Space for and Increasing Persecution of Christians

 

Since South Sudan’s secession in 2011, USCIRF has documented an escalation in the Sudanese government’s persecution of Christians. Over a six-year period, the Sudanese government has arrested almost 200 Christians, including 14 religious authorities; threatened dozens of churches and related church buildings, including through demolition, closure, and expropriation; and continued to discriminate against Christians and promote Islam.

President Trump: Support Religious Freedom in China

With President Trump going to China, we must not forget the persecution and struggles of Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, and the many other members of religious and ethnic minority communities.  The Chinese government must uphold, not repress, their rich religious and cultural traditions and free the many prisoners of conscience, including the Panchen Lama and Gulmira Imin.

Policy Update: Central African Republic Factsheet

The Central African Republic has a long history of political strife, coups, severe human rights abuses, and underdevelopment. Despite this, sectarian violence and targeted killing based on religious identity are new to the majority-Christian country. The ongoing conflict started after the 2013 coup by a coalition of Muslim-majority militias and has resulted in thousands of people dead, 2.2 million in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 480,000 refugees, and more than 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Remarks to Vietnam Caucus/Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Religious Freedom in Vietnam

"Pastor and Mrs. Hong, I honor you for your resiliency under the cruel conditions under which you lived and being forced to leave your country. You inspire all of us to advocate for those who are imprisoned for their religious beliefs, activities, and advocacy."

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