USCIRF's Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, as well as the dedicated advocacy of USCIRF Commissioners working for their release.
USCIRF defines Religious Prisoners of Conscience (RPOCs) as individuals who are imprisoned, detained, under house arrest, or disappeared for their religious beliefs, non-belief, identity, activity and/or advocacy for FoRB or related rights, provided that they have not used or advocated violence.
The RPOC Project is separate and distinct from USCIRF's Freedom of Religion or Belief (FORB) Victims List. Inclusion in the RPOC Project is not equivalent to inclusion on the FORB Victims List, and vice versa.
Raif Badawi is a blogger and human rights activist who co-founded the website Free Saudi Liberals in 2008. Badawi and his colleagues intended the website to encourage debate on religious and political issues in Saudi Arabia despite the country's restricted civic space.Read more >
Mubarak Bala is a self-identified atheist from Kano State in northeast Nigeria. He became well known in 2014 when the media reported that he had been forcibly drugged and committed to a psychiatric unit by his family members after telling them he was atheist.Read more >
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was born on April 25, 1989, in Lhari County, Tibet. After the death of the 10th Panchen Lama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama chose Gedhun on May 14, 1995, to be the 11th Panchen Lama, which is the second highest position in Tibetan Buddhism.Read more >
Hu Shigen was born on November 14, 1955, in Jiangxi Province. He received his university education in Beijing and later taught at the Beijing Language Institute. The 1989 Democracy Movement, and the subsequent Tiananmen Square protests, jumpstarted Hu Shigen’s political activism.Read more >
Adil Tuniyaz is a well-known Uyghur poet, reporter at the state-run People's Radio, and author of the books Questions for an Apple and Manifesto for Universal Poetry. Tuniyaz and his wife, Nezire Muhammad Salih, were both arrested in December 2017.Read more >