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.
USCIRF Issues Reports on Religious Freedom Violations in Burma
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released two reports highlighting Burma’s serious religious freedom challenges:
- Hidden Plight: Christian Minorities in Burma highlights the pervasive and longstanding persecution and discrimination Christians face that have persisted, often unreported, for generations. View the report here in English and Burmese.
- Suspended in Time: The Ongoing Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma details the persecution of Rohingya Muslims resulting from government-directed abuses and/or government indifference to discrimination and violence that has killed hundreds, displaced thousands, and destroyed hundreds of religious properties since 2012. View the report here in English and Burmese.
USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George testified on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at a hearing entitled "Confronting the Genocide of Religious Minorities: A Way Forward."
From the testimony:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes Secretary of State John Kerry’s re-designation on April 15, 2016 of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, under the International Religious Freedom Act, and the designation for the first time of Tajikistan as a CPC.
WASHINGTON, DC – At the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Ambassador Jackie Wolcott was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on March 14. Ambassador Wolcott will serve a two-year term and succeeds Commissioner Mary Ann Glendon whose term expires on May 14.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Indian government today failed to issue visas to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in time for a long planned trip to India. The goal of the Commission’s trip was to discuss and assess religious freedom conditions in that nation.
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…