The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will host a reception at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Wednesday, July 25, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), announced USCIRF chair Dr. Tenzin Dorjee today. The reception at USIP will be held on July 25 from 5:00-7:00 p.m during the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. This is an invitation-only event. On Thursday, July 26, USCIRF will also host a grant workshop for civil society organizations.
A USCIRF delegation visited Khartoum and North Darfur states in May 2018 to learn about specific violations and barriers to religious freedom perpetrated both by state and non-state actors. The delegation met with a wide range of interlocutors, including Sudanese government officials, members of civil society, women’s rights activists, human rights defenders, religious leaders, representatives of religious minority communities, and journalists, among others. This report highlights information provided to USCIRF in four areas, including the supremacy of the government’s interpretation of Islam, state enforcement of this interpretation of Islam resulting in the violation of women’s rights, and oppression of Christians and other minority groups.
This report presents findings from a review of 12 Saudi high school textbooks for the current 2017-2018 academic school year. The books, numbering more than 2,000 pages and focusing only on religious subjects, are much more intolerant than the six religious books from 2012-2014 that were reviewed by USCIRF. Based on the books reviewed, it appears that they are even more intolerant than the 2011-2012 textbooks studied by the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), which identified many intolerant passages. The 2017-2018 books are more akin to Saudi textbooks from the early years of the previous decade before the Saudi government promised to reform its curricula. The issues found in the books implicated religious freedom and other human rights.
In November 2017, USCIRF Commissioners and staff traveled to Burma (also known as Myanmar) to meet with government officials, civil society, and religious representatives in Rangoon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw. In January 2018, USCIRF staff traveled to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to gather information on the situation of Rohingya Muslim refugees.
This document provides an overview of what USCIRF learned during these visits about the religious freedom challenges Burma faces and violations specific to Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, USCIRF Commissioner, testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China regarding ongoing religious freedom violations in Tibet.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) was deeply saddened to learn of the death on Sunday of Ms. Asma Jahangir, a leading human rights defender in Pakistan and a former United Nations expert on freedom of religion or belief. “Ms. Jahangir was an outspoken critic of the Pakistani government’s misuse of blasphemy laws, particularly targeting Ahmadis and Christians,” said USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark. “She did this despite great risk to her own personal safety. She will always be remembered as a fearless advocate for human rights both in Pakistan and around the globe.”
Thomas J. Reese, S.J., USCIRF Commissioner, testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission regarding the prevention of mass atrocities.
The report documents ASEAN’s and the Member States’ approaches to the freedom of religion or belief, underscores the religious freedom-related challenges in the region that transcend country borders, and emphasizes the strategic importance of robust U.S. engagement on these issues with ASEAN as a collective and the 10 individual Member States.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As President Obama soon will visit Laos to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today urged the President to raise religious freedom concerns in the country.