The international community and the U.S. government must put unrelenting pressure on whoever wins Wednesday’s election to immediately stop the harassment of the country’s religious minorities.
More than ever, USCIRF believes that the United States should take a stand for the religious minorities that Russia is oppressing in Russia, as well as in Crimea and the Russian-occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk. The commissioners strongly recommend that Russia be designated a Country of Particular Concern for its severe religious freedom violations, and that appropriate sanctions be imposed against the Russian Federation, including under the Magnitsky Act and the new provisions available in the Global Magnitsky Act.
"For most pastors, the beginning of a new year is filled with the promise of youth programs, baptisms, and marriages. Instead, Pastor Andrew Brunson — Presbyterian cleric in Turkey, American citizen, and pawn in an international game of hostage diplomacy — is spending it in a Turkish jail."
11/16/17: The List No One Wants to Be On
Thanks to new legislation, the designation of CPCs by the State Department — which did not occur every year and which has not happened since October 2016 — is expected in November. And we, as chairman and vice chairwoman of USCIRF, very much hope that the Trump administration’s list of CPCs will look a lot like ours.
With President Trump going to China, we must not forget the persecution and struggles of Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, and the many other members of religious and ethnic minority communities. The Chinese government must uphold, not repress, their rich religious and cultural traditions and free the many prisoners of conscience, including the Panchen Lama and Gulmira Imin.
Commissioner Rev. Thomas J. Reese: Thirteen years ago this month, Eritrea was designated a CPC and placed on a list which, in an ideal world, would not have to exist. Along with my fellow commissioners, I look forward to the day when Patriarch Antonios is free and Eritreans experience robust religious freedom.
We must not be silent about the Chinese government’s persecution of the Tibetan people. That government has disappeared the Panchen Lama and seeks to make the Tibetan people disappear by repressing their religion, culture, and language. We cannot let this happen on our watch.
9/18/17: The Hill -- Central African Republic turns a blind eye to the persecution of Muslim minority
Vice Chairwoman Sandra Jolley and Commissioner Jackie Wolcott: The United States must help the Central African Republic address accountability for violence and ending impunity. The people of CAR expect its government to function, and if it cannot or will not take responsibility for the religious, ethnic, and sectarian violence it faces, we will see more ethnic cleansing. As the U.N. aid chief said, “We must act now.”
Commissioner Clifford D. May: Saudi Vision 2030’s aspirations are laudable. Saudi Arabia should become a tolerant and moderate country, but that means accepting some debate and even dissent. That transformation needs to begin now. Releasing Badawi would represent a meaningful step forward.
7/19/17: Religion News Service - Stripped of his title and illegally replaced, Eritrea’s spiritual leader languishes in detention
Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J.: I implore the Eritrean government to do the right thing: Release Patriarch Antonios. Allow him to take his duly elected position as the head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and let the Eritrean people exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief.