Welcome to USCIRF

  • 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.

  • Contract opportunities religion

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

  • women religious freedom

    Read the May 2018 Policy Focus on Women and Religious Freedom 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

A USCIRF delegation visited Khartoum and North Darfur states in May 2018 to learn about specific violations and barriers to religious freedom perpetrated both by state and non-state actors. The delegation met with a wide range of interlocutors, including Sudanese government officials, members of civil society, women’s rights activists, human rights defenders, religious leaders, representatives of religious minority communities, and journalists, among others. This report highlights information provided to USCIRF in four areas, including the supremacy of the government’s interpretation of Islam, state enforcement of this interpretation of Islam resulting in the violation of women’s rights, and oppression of Christians and other minority groups.   read more
WASHINGTON, DC – In an open vote, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today unanimously elected Dr. Tenzin Dorjee as its Chairman. Chairman Dorjee is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). He is a prominent translator of Tibetan and Buddhist works and has been recognized with numerous honors for his scholarship and advocacy on behalf of the Tibetan community. He has traveled to Burma and Iraq to monitor religious freedom conditions and testified before the U.S. Congress on religious freedom conditions in Tibet and China. read more
WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) yesterday reappointed Kristina Arriaga, and on May 15, 2018, President Donald J. Trump appointed Gary L. Bauer, Nadine Maenza, and Johnnie Moore to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).   read more
This report presents findings from a review of 12 Saudi high school textbooks for the current 2017-2018 academic school year. The books, numbering more than 2,000 pages and focusing only on religious subjects, are much more intolerant than the six religious books from 2012-2014 that were reviewed by USCIRF. Based on the books reviewed, it appears that they are even more intolerant than the 2011-2012 textbooks studied by the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), which identified many intolerant passages. The 2017-2018 books are more akin to Saudi textbooks from the early years of the previous decade before the Saudi government promised to reform its curricula. The issues found in the books implicated religious freedom and other human rights. 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.

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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.

Selected Blasphemy Cases

SELECTED BLASPHEMY CASES

Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws, a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, documents the 71 countries – ranging from Canada to Pakistan – that have blasphemy laws (as of June 2016). 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.

USCIRF Strongly Condemns Violence in Burma’s Rakhine State and Calls for Efforts to Protect Rohingya Muslims

USCIRF strongly condemns attacks on civilians and security forces in Burma’s Rakhine State.  Hundreds have been killed and approximately 300,000 Rohingya Muslims recently have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.  This number is expected to grow in the days and weeks ahead.  Burma’s security forces have razed entire villages, slaughtered families, and even placed landmines in the path of fleeing refugees, creating “a staggering humanitarian disaster,” according to USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark.

USCIRF Releases Report Measuring Blasphemy Laws’ Compliance with Human Rights

USCIRF released a report that shows how blasphemy laws around the world fall short of international human rights benchmarks. 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. USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark states that blasphemy laws “invite abuse and can lead to assaults, murders, and mob attacks."

IRAN: Religious Prisoner of Conscience Maryam Naghash Zargaran Released

USCIRF welcomed the release of Iranian religious prisoner of conscience Maryam Naghash Zargaran. A Christian convert from Islam, Ms. Zargaran was sentenced in 2013 to four years’ imprisonment on charges of “propagating against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security.” Commissioner Clifford D. May: Maryam's case exemplified Iran's "flagrant disregard for religious freedom." 

USCIRF Condemns Egypt’s Deportation of Uighur Muslims to China

USCIRF strongly condemns the irresponsible and hostile actions taken against Uighur Muslims in Egypt. The government of Egypt continues a campaign of rounding up and deporting these individuals back to China, a country with a record of harsh repression of the Uighur community.  USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark said, “These latest moves show a calculated indifference to the Uighur Muslim community.”

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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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