Father Thomas Reese, USCIRF Commissioner, testified at the hearing titled, "Eritrea: Root Causes of the Refugee Crisis," held by the Tom Lanto Human Rights Commission on April 18, 2018.
USCIRF welcomed the State Department’s naming of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs) for severe religious freedom violations. This group comprises nations that violate religious freedom in a “systematic, ongoing, egregious” manner and includes Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Commissioner Thomas J. Reese, S.J.: I implore the Eritrean government to do the right thing: Release Patriarch Antonios. Allow him to take his duly elected position as the head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and let the Eritrean people exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief.
Statement of Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
In support of
Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios
Key Fact: Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church
Detained Since: May 27, 2007
Biography: Patriarch Abune Antonios was born on July 12, 1927, in Himberti, a town north of the Eritrean capital, Asmara. He was ordained as the third Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tawahedo Church in 2004.