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Hearing on Religious Persecution in Sudan

Feb. 14, 2000

Lawrence J. Goodrich, Communications Director, (202) 523-3240

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom will hold its first hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 15 to examine religious persecution and the 17-year civil war in Sudan. The hearing is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Senate Commerce Committee hearing room, SR-253, in the Senate Russell Office Building.

A featured witness is Bishop Macram Max Gassis, exiled Roman Catholic Bishop of El-Obeid, Sudan. His testimony will be particularly timely, as last week Sudanese government aircraft bombed an elementary school in his diocese, killing 14 children and a teacher.

The witnesses and schedule are as follows:

9:00-9:15 Opening Comments: Rabbi Saperstein, Chair; Elliott Abrams, Commissioner

Panel I:

9:15-10:15 Bishop Macram Max Gassis, Roman Catholic Church, Sudan; Professor Gáspár Bíró, University of Budapest; Mr. Francis M. Deng, The Brookings Institute

10:15-10:30 Break

Panel II:


Baroness Caroline Cox, UK House of Lords

Ms. Victoria Ben Ding, Christian Sudanese exile

Mr. Adlan Abdelaziz, Muslim Sudanese exile

Dr. Eric C. Reeves, on leave from Smith College

12:15-1:15 Lunch

Panel III:


Mr. Roger Robinson, Jr., RWR Inc.

Prof. John Voll, Georgetown University

Mr. Ezekiel Gatkuoth, United Democratic Salvation Front

2:45-3:00 Break

Panel IV:


Mr. Dan Eiffe, Norwegian People's Aid

Mr. Roger Winter, U.S. Committee for Refugees

Ms. Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch

Mr. Steve Rickard, Amnesty International

4:45 Closing Statement of Michael Young, Vice Chair

The hearing is held under authority of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Reporters and producers wishing assistance in arranging interviews with witnesses or Commissioners may contact Communications Director Lawrence J. Goodrich, (202) 523-3240.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress." 

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom




Rabbi David Saperstein,Chair

  • Dean Michael K. Young, Vice Chair Hon. Elliott Abrams, Laila Al-Marayati, M.D.Hon. John R. Bolton, Firuz Kazemzadeh, Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, Nina Shea, Justice Charles Z. Smith, Ambassador Robert Seiple, Ex-Officio, Steven T. McFarland, Executive Director