Welcome to USCIRF

  • 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 watch the video

  • On April 26, 2017, USCIRF released its 2017 Annual Report. The 2017 Annual Report documents religious freedom violations in 37 countries, makes country-specific recommendations, and assesses the U.S. government’s implementation of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Click here to view the report.

  • 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.   

  • USCIRF Chair Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. "What is religious freedom and why is it so pivotal? It is the right of people everywhere to heed the call of conscience in matters of religion and belief, living out its dictates openly, peacefully, and without fear."  Welcome to USCIRF

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

  • USCIRF staff meet with religious leaders and scholars from North Africa and the Middle East as part of the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, May 5, 2017.

  • Elizabeth Cassidy, Director of International Law and Policy, speaks at a U.S. Senate briefing titled "Crossing the Line - Denying Access to Asylum Protections," May 4, 2017.

What's New at USCIRF

USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. testifies before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission 

USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. testified on May 24, 2017 before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at a hearing titled "Freedom of Belief: Countering Religious Violence."read more

USCIRF Commissioner John Ruskay makes a statement in support of Bagir Kazikhanov

USCIRF Commissioner John Ruskay tells the Russian Government to "stop equating peaceful religious behavior with terrorism or extremism and immediately release Bagir Kazikhanov." read more
"Dear Pastor Chinh and Mrs. Hong: I write to you as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and a person of faith who is deeply concerned about your well-being." read more
USCIRF calls for the release of those accused of or convicted of blasphemy stating that blasphemy "laws are used to intimidate and harass individuals, including religious dissenters and minorities and violate their freedom of religion and belief.”   read more
"What will Iran’s May 19 presidential election mean for the Baha’i, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious group? Given that every candidate was handpicked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s Guardian Council, the answer is simple: Nothing good." 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:
Chair 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

2017 Annual ReportThe 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.

Barriers to Protection

Report cover of 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

Testimony of USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J., on "Blasphemy Laws and Censorship by States and Non-State Actors"

USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. testified on July 15, 2016 before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at a hearing titled "Blasphemy Laws and Censorship by States and Non-State Actors: Examining Global Threats to Freedom of Expression."

From the testimony:

CHINA: USCIRF Condemns the Government’s Ramadan Restrictions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2016
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Muslims around the world mark the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr celebrations, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the Chinese government’s restrictions on Uighur and other Muslims’ religious practices.  These restrictions are particularly egregious during this month-long period of introspection, fasting, prayer, and devotion.

Testimony of former USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George and former USCIRF Vice Chair Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser on the Global Religious Freedom Crisis

Former USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George and former Vice Chair Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser testified on June 16, 2016 before the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at a hearing titled "The Global Religious Freedom Crisis and Its Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy."

Read former Chairman George's full testimony before the Subcommittee.

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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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