Press Releases & Statements
12/9/19: USCIRF Raises Alarm about Speech Laws that Restrict Religious Freedom in More than Half of African Countries
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a report entitled “Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Hate Speech Laws in Africa: Implications for Freedom of Religion or Belief.” This report examines these speech restrictions and their impact on religious freedom across the African continent.
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned the mass arrests of Baha’is in Iran amidst national protests against the government. Since November 27, the Iranian government has arrested at least 11 Baha’is in Isfahan and Khuzestan, searched their houses, and confiscated personal items.
12/4/19: 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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 22, 2019 USCIRF Releases New Reports on Religious Freedom in Indonesia and Vietnam
11/20/19: USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava Adopts Nguyen Bac Truyen Through the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project
WASHINGTON, DC – Anurima Bhargava, a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today announced her adoption of Vietnamese religious freedom advocate and Hoa Hao Buddhist Nguyen Bac Truyen as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project.
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a report on the religious freedom implications of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern Indian state of Assam. With 1.9 million names of residents of Assam left off the updated NRC list, the report raises concerns about how the NRC process is being used to target and disenfranchise the Muslim population in Assam.
WASHINGTON, DC – Months of efforts by United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Andy Khawaja to determine the whereabouts of missing and presumed imprisoned U.S. citizen Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007, have finally yielded a breakthrough. Following parallel initiatives by the White House, State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Iranian government confirmed for the first time it has an open court case against Levinson and considers him a missing person.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commends the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.Res. 296 on October 29, 2019 to officially recognize and commemorate the Armenian Genocide. The resolution affirms U.S. recognition of the atrocities committed against Armenians by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 as genocide, and commits to promoting education and greater public understanding of the Armenian Genocide and its relevance to modern-day crimes against humanity. USCIRF urges the U.S. Senate to pass the companion resolution, S.Res 150.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns recent Turkish air strikes near civilian areas in Sinjar, Iraq. Turkey claims that these air strikes, the most recent in a series of similar operations that it has conducted in the Sinjar area since 2017, are targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters who have remained in northwestern Iraq since participating in anti-ISIS operations. However, these indiscriminate strikes have taken place in close proximity to towns and camps in which displaced Yazidi families have taken refuge since the 2014 genocide at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes today’s announcement that the United States Treasury has sanctioned Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani for directing “the regime’s systematic blocking of social and economic progress of the Baha’i community, a religious minority group in Iran. This includes expelling members of the Baha’i faith from universities and denying them employment.” This is the first time the Treasury Department has sanctioned an individual specifically for his role in orchestrating the persecution of Baha’is in Iran.