Testimony of USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on International Religious Freedom: Strengthening its Promotion in U.S. Foreign Policy

June 3, 2011

Leonard Leo, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, gave the following testimony before The House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on June 3, 2011 at a hearing entitled "International Religious Freedom: Strengthening Its Promotion in U.S. Foreign Policy."

The following is an excerpt from the testimony:

... Religious freedom is a fundamental human right - indeed, a "first freedom” - while also being a critically important factor in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy and national security policy, especially in a post-9/11 world. Today, religious freedom - or more accurately, its absence or curtailment-- ought to be a key issue in countries that top the U.S. foreign policy agenda. From Egypt to China, Iraq to Sudan, Nigeria to Vietnam, and Russia to Turkey, promoting and protecting this fundamental right has never been more challenging.

Click here to view the entire testimony.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF's principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact Thomas Carter, Communications Director at tcarter@uscirf.gov, or (202) 523-3257.