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Press Releases & Statements

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.
“Global Magnitsky sanctions against individuals who have committed gross human rights abuses are an important new tool in the U.S. government’s human rights toolbox,” said USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark.  “USCIRF congratulates the White House, the State Department, and the Treasury Department for working together to implement this first set of sanctions.  Other countries are passing similar acts, and the United States should continue to be a leader in the fight against human rights abusers.”
USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark said that “failing to designate CPCs tells the violators of religious freedom around the world that the United States is looking away.  The State Department should make such designations without delay.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the release of Iranian religious prisoner of conscience Fariba Kamalabadi. Vice Chairwoman Arriaga praises Ms. Kamalabadi’s “courage, grounded in the faith that the Iranian government has tried so hard to repress.”
Daniel Mark, USCIRF's Chairman stated that “Pakistan must repeal its blasphemy laws and immediately release all those imprisoned under those provisions.  Blasphemy laws and the horrific acts they unleash are an assault on human rights and dignity.”
Kristina Arriaga, the Vice Chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), testified before the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Speaking on the “government’s role in protecting international religious freedom,” Arriaga advised the Members that “we ignore religious freedom violations at our peril and must address challenges proactively.”  
“USCIRF is disappointed that the White House chose to lift the Sudan sanctions,” said USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark.  “Sudan is an egregious violator of religious freedom and should again be designated a CPC."
USCIRF's Vice Chairwomen, Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga, met with Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey this week.  Pastor Brunson has been detained for a year on fabricated charges.  During his meeting he told commissioners, "Knowing that I am not forgotten is important to me."
 The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) praises the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of H.R. 390, the “Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017.” 
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released A Right for All: Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN, a report documenting the state of this freedom in the 10 Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  The study examines ASEAN’s and the Member States’ approaches to this fundamental right, praising the fact that “ASEAN has achieved some level of cooperation across such diversity” and noting where improvement is needed.  

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