USCIRF Statement on World Refugee Day and Link Between Religious Freedom and Displacement

Jun 20, 2019

WASHINGTON – In response to the release of the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Global Trends report on worldwide forced displacement, and in observance of June 20th as World Refugee Day, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Tony Perkins issued the following statement:

“It is unconscionable that over 70 million people – 50% of whom are children – have been forcibly displaced from their homes, many as a result of religious persecution. Six of the countries among the top 10 from which refugees have fled have appeared for years on USCIRF’s lists of the world’s worst religious freedom violators, yet this enormous driver of the global displacement crisis gets precious little attention. 

If the world is to make any headway in reducing this crisis, there must first be broad acknowledgement of the crimes that have been and continue to be committed by governments that seek to deny their citizens the fundamental right to believe and live as their consciences dictate, and by violent non-state actors that seek to impose their religious views on others.  

We call on all governments that honor religious freedom to aggressively pursue policies that incentivize religious tolerance and punish religious persecution in these refugee-producing countries. Only when people of all faiths, and none, can coexist peacefully in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Burma, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea will we see an end to today’s escalating displacement.”  

Information about the world’s worst religious freedom violators and recommendations for U.S. policy can be found in USCIRF’s 2019 Annual Report.




The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at or Kellie Boyle at or +1-703-898-6554