Press Releases & Statements
WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns Saudi Arabia’s intensified mistreatment of religious prisoner of conscience Raif Badawi. The Saudi government has moved Badawi to solitary confinement and he has declared a hunger strike in protest. This is Badawi’s second hunger strike since September 2019. Saudi Arabia arrested Badawi in 2012 on charges of “apostasy” and insulting Islam. USCIRF has advocated for Saudi Arabia to release him since 2013 and has recommended that Congress and the administration continue do the same in its 2019 annual report.
WASHINGTON, DC (December 13, 2019) – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns Egypt’s recent arrest of Coptic activist Ramy Kamel. Mr. Kamel is an activist and prominent member of the Maspero Youth Union, advocating for full civil rights for Egypt’s Coptic Christian community and documenting abuses against its members. On November 23, National Security Agency officers stormed his home; confiscated his mobile phone, laptop, and other belongings related to his advocacy work; and took him into custody. One day later, the Supreme State Security Prosecution announced a series of spurious charges against Mr. Kamel, including membership in a terrorist organization, spreading false information, and disturbing the public order.
WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the Department of Treasury’s designation of senior Burmese military officials for sanctions under Executive Order 13818 and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, due to their individual roles in mass atrocities in Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan states. Designated individuals include Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese military; Soe Win, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese military; Than Oo, a leader of the 99th Light Infantry Division in Rakhine State; and Aung Aung, a leader of the 33rd Light Infantry Division in Rakhine State.
12/9/19: USCIRF Raises Serious Concerns and Eyes Sanctions Recommendations for Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in India, Which Passed Lower House Today
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is deeply troubled by the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), originally introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah, in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) given the religion criterion in the bill. The CAB will now move to the Rajya Sabha (Indian Parliament’s Upper House). If the CAB passes in both houses of parliament, the United States government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership.
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.