In his testimony Commissioner Dorjee discussed his personal story of fleeing Tibet and the Chinese government's repression of Tibetan Buddhists, including the demolition of the Larung Gar Buddhist academy and the detention of religious prisoners of conscience. Commissioner Dorjee also provided recommendations to the U.S. Congress and Administration.
What's New at USCIRF
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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USCIRF Focus: Blasphemy Laws
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.
Muslims around the world recently marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan. “The Chinese government has taken unprecedented steps to trample on the religious freedom of Uighur Muslims particularly during Ramadan,” said USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a May 30 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on him to “take steps to address severe violations of religious freedom and other human rights” in Sudan. In the letter, USCIRF called on Secretary Tillerson to maintain existing sanctions on the Sudanese government due to deteriorating religious freedom conditions.
At its June 13 meeting, USCIRF commissioners elected Daniel Mark as the Commission’s new chairman. Dr. Mark is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and battalion professor for Villanova’s Navy ROTC unit. In response to his election, Chairman Mark said, “I am greatly honored by the confidence shown in me by my fellow commissioners. I look forward to enhancing USCIRF’s role and voice in monitoring violations and recommending ways U.S. policy can play an even stronger role.”
H.R. 390 would promote accountability for atrocities committed by ISIS and address the urgent humanitarian needs of persecuted religious and/or ethnic minorities targeted for genocide.
USCIRF was saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Firuz Kazemzadeh, one of the first Commissioners appointed to USCIRF Dr. Kazemzadeh was also a professor emeritus of history at Yale, a distinguished member of the American Baha’i community, and a tireless champion of international religious freedom.
USCIRF's new groundbreaking report, the first of its kind to involve in-person interviews with representatives of almost all religious minority groups in the KRI, notes that "the KRI remains far more welcoming and tolerant to minorities than its regional neighbors" and expresses hope that special effort will be taken to "preserve [the] freedoms and rights" of minorities.
“For more than four years, Maryam Naghash Zargaran has suffered in an Iranian prison, falsely charged with ‘propagating against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security’,” - Commissioner Clifford D. May.
USCIRF Vice Chairman Daniel Mark stated that he “welcomed this long-overdue step by Burma’s government. Pwint Phyu Latt and Zaw Zaw Latt, both Muslim, were wrongfully imprisoned for their interfaith activities."
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."
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…