Dec 13


Dec 13th 11:00am

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

USCIRF Conversation: Religious Freedom for Indigenous Communities in Latin America

Wednesday, December 13
11:00am-12:00pm ET
Virtual Event

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) hosted a virtual discussion of USCIRF’s report on religious freedom conditions for Indigenous communities in Latin America.

Despite increased international attention to the religious freedom concerns of Indigenous communities and individuals, discrimination, violent attacks, threats, and land seizures persist. In Mexico, drug traffickers have murdered religious leaders working to protect Indigenous communities. In the Colombian and Venezuelan Amazon, drug and human traffickers, paramilitary groups, and guerrillas illegally build roads, landing strips, and clandestine ports on religiously significant ancestral lands. Throughout the region, extractive companies cause serious damage to sacred natural sites. And, within Indigenous communities, those who convert to a religion or belief different from that practiced by the majority may be subject to fines, imprisonment, or violence.

Panelists discussed national, regional, and international legal instruments protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief for Indigenous communities and individuals in Latin America. They also assessed state efforts to protect that right and highlight the threats impacting the religious freedom of Indigenous communities and individuals.  

USCIRF Commissioners Frank Wolf and Mohamed Magid were joined by the authors of the report, Dennis D. Petri, International Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom, and Teresa Flores, Director of the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America, for this discussion. The event was moderated by USCIRF Researcher Luke Wilson and included Q&A for attendees.


  • Frank Wolf, Commissioner, USCIRF
  • Mohamed Magid, Commissioner, USCIRF
  • Dennis D. Petri, International Director, International Institute for Religious Freedom
  • Teresa Flores, Director, Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America


  • Luke Wilson, Researcher, USCIRF


This virtual event is open to the public and media. The video recording will be posted on the Commission website. For any additional questions, please contact [email protected].