FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2000
Lawrence J. Goodrich, Communications Director, (202) 523-3240
WHAT:Members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom will testify before the House International Relations Committee during a hearing on the Commission's first annual report, issued May 1. Commission Chair Rabbi David Saperstein and Commissioners Elliott Abrams and Nina Shea will testify. The hearing is being held during the height of the debate in Congress about Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for China, as well as the beginning of a "Sudan Campaign," organized by non-governmental organizations, taking place in Washington, D.C.
WHEN:Wednesday, May 24, 2000 at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE:Room 2172, Rayburn Building
BACKGROUND:The Commission issued its first annual report to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress on May 1. The Commission made recommendations on China, Sudan, and Russia, most notably recommending that Congress grant China Permanent Normal Trade Relations status only after China makes substantial improvement in respect for religious freedom. With regard to Sudan, the Commission recommended the U.S. begin a 12-month plan to pressure Sudan's government to improve human rights and bring an end to a 17-year civil war that has killed some 2 million people, mostly Christians and animists in the south. The full report can be found on the Commission's Web site at www.uscirf.gov.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress." src="http://www.uscirf.org/images/layout/subbottomtext1.gif" />
Rabbi David Saperstein,Chair