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Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is closely monitoring increased protest activity in Iran and expresses concern the government may heighten its persecution of religious minorities and dissidents in response. Since December 2017, Iran’s government has reacted to widespread popular protests in the country by cracking down on Iranians who do not align with the government’s official religious views, accusing them of disloyalty, espionage, and/or endangering national security. read more
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today praised the State Department’s announcement that it has named nine “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs) for particularly severe religious freedom violations and placed seven countries on its “Special Watch List” (SWL) for severe violations, pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)  read more
The global Jewish community is facing a rising tide of anti-Semitic hatred characterized by vandalism, Holocaust denial, violent attacks, hate speech, and the perpetuation of vicious stereotypes. Devastating attacks on synagogues, like the one in October in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, illustrate the risks Jews take by seeking to worship and live out their religious identity. Jews in some regions are even refraining from wearing kippahs, Star of David necklaces, and other identifying clothing in order to prevent targeted attacks against them. read more
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed the U.S. Department of Treasury’s imposition of sanctions yesterday on two of Iran’s “Hanging Judges”, Judge Abolghassem Salavati and Judge Mohammed Moghiseh, under Executive Order 13846. Both judges have been responsible for miscarriages of justice and severe violations of religious freedom in Iran. USCIRF has long recommended the sanctioning of both judges. read more
WASHINGTON, DC (December 19, 2019)  A bill drafted and shepherded through Congress by Democratic and Republican members reauthorizes the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for an additional three years. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right, which successive U.S. administrations have raised and championed. USCIRF serves a critical role in defending and promoting the universal right to freedom of religion abroad by highlighting severe violations and making policy recommendations to address them to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. 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.
 

USCIRF Religious Prisoners of Conscience

 

 

 

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Recent Publications

A Survey of 2017-2018 Saudi Middle and High School Textbooks catalogs the offending laws found in a wide range of countries. This follow-on contracted study reviews 22 middle and high school textbooks published by the Saudi government for the 2017-2018 academic year, including the 12 high school books previously reviewed by USCIRF in its May 2018 Special Report.

Central Nigeria: Overcoming Dangerous Speech and Endemic Religious Divides examines how dangerous speech and polarizing narratives in Nigeria have fueled violence, discrimination and segregation between Muslims and Christians for decades, particularly in central Nigeria, and how these dynamics have contributed to violence and religious freedom violations.

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Shari’ah Criminal Law in Northern Nigeria

For 20 years, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has monitored and evaluated religious freedom conditions in Nigeria. This year also marks 20 years since Nigeria’s return to democracy and the adoption of the 1999 Constitution, which outlines the federal system of government and the hybrid application of religious, customary, and civil laws. The Constitution provides that states shall have High Courts, and may also have Shari’ah and Customary courts of appeal where required. During the same time period, 12 northern Nigerian states have also re-integrated Islamic criminal law in various ways. While the Shari’ah laws are based on long-standing practices, receive widespread support from Muslims, and apply only to Muslims, state enforcement of religious laws presents serious challenges to fully respecting freedom of religion or belief.
 
 

USCIRF Welcomes House Passage of the Uighur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019, Urges Swift Passage in the Senate

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today commended the House of Representatives for passing an amended version of the Uighur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019 (S.178). The bill, passed by unanimous consent by the Senate in September, will require the administration to impose sanctions on individual Chinese officials responsible for the persecution of Uighur and other Muslims.

Silencing Religious Freedom in Africa: The Impact of Speech Restrictions

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a briefing on its latest report, Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Hate Speech Laws in Africa: Implications for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a discussion with expert panelists about restrictions on civic space in Africa and ways U.S. policy can help address these concerns.

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About the Commission

Who We Are

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief.

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