Kristina Arriaga, USCIRF Vice Chairwoman, testified before the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concerning the government’s role in protecting international religious freedom.
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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.
“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 report documents ASEAN’s and the Member States’ approaches to the freedom of religion or belief, underscores the religious freedom-related challenges in the region that transcend country borders, and emphasizes the strategic importance of robust U.S. engagement on these issues with ASEAN as a collective and the 10 individual Member States.
“Mahvash Sabet has been unjustly imprisoned under terrible conditions simply for daring to practice her religion and educate her fellow Baha’is. Mahvash’s courage in the face of persecution and her dedication to her faith are truly inspiring,” said USCIRF Vice Chairwoman Kristina Arriaga
SELECTED BLASPHEMY CASES
Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws, a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, documents the 71 countries – ranging from Canada to Pakistan – that have blasphemy laws (as of June 2016). 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.
USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark said, “Michael Cromartie embodied the effort to integrate religious values with public policy – at both the domestic and international level. We owe him a debt of gratitude for championing an open and honest discourse about the role of religion and belief in a public policy and political context.”
USCIRF strongly condemns attacks on civilians and security forces in Burma’s Rakhine State. Hundreds have been killed and approximately 300,000 Rohingya Muslims recently have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. This number is expected to grow in the days and weeks ahead. Burma’s security forces have razed entire villages, slaughtered families, and even placed landmines in the path of fleeing refugees, creating “a staggering humanitarian disaster,” according to USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark.
Covering 2016, this publication documents religious freedom conditions in almost 200 countries, including some of the most repressive governments in the world. USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark noted: "The State Department’s report is an important resource on religious freedom conditions globally."
USCIRF released a report that shows how blasphemy laws around the world fall short of international human rights benchmarks. The report details laws spanning the globe from countries such as Canada and Switzerland to Iran and Indonesia with penalties ranging from fines to death. USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark states that blasphemy laws “invite abuse and can lead to assaults, murders, and mob attacks."
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…