Six More Members of Iran’s Minority Bahá’í Faith Sentenced to Prison
A Revolutionary Court in Iran has sentenced six citizens of the minority Bahá’í faith to a total of 73 years and six months in prison for engaging in activities related to children’s education and promoting their religion on social media.
Sudan Outlaws Public Flogging and Torture and the Draconian Punishment of Apostates
Nearly two and a half months after Sudan banned the cultural practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), the government has announced new laws that ban torture and flogging and end the death penalty for apostasy.
USCIRF Releases Groundbreaking Report on Religious Freedom in Russia
A July 17 report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) calls for the U.S. government to publicly censure Alexander Dvorkin for ongoing disinformation campaign against religious minorities.
Does Turkey’s New System for Changing Religious Affiliation Online Presage a More Tolerant Religious Atmosphere?
Turkey has launched an “ e-Government Gateway ” system. Does this offer new opportunities for discrimination?
U.S. Watchdog Proposes ‘Binding Agreement’ With Pakistan to Combat Blasphemy Laws and Persecution of Minority Ahmadiyya Muslims
The USCIRF says the United States should create a binding agreement aimed at addressing religious freedom violations in Pakistan.
Uyghur Activist Appointed as Commissioner to U.S. Religion Watchdog
An activist for the rights of the Muslim Uyghur community in China’s Xinjiang province has made history by becoming the first member of that minority group to be appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
USCIRF Urges Sanctions Against Chinese Officials
USCIRF Annual Report calls for China to be once again be designated on the State Department’s list of “Countries of Particular Concern,” citing crimes against the Uygar, Kazakh and Kyrgyz Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners.
Egypt Holds Christian Coptic Activist in Pretrial Detention
Ramy Kamel, an Egyptian citizen noted for his work in documenting attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christian churches and defending the human rights of the minority faith, is in pretrial detention in Cairo on a charge of belonging to a terrorist group.
Crimes Against Humanity in Central African Republic
U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in the CAR Najat Rochdi says an upsurge of violence in April and May has sent many returning refugees fleeing to neighboring Cameroon and Chad. She says one in four people in the country is now displaced.
Speaker of the House Makes Appointment to the USCIRF
On May 21, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan reappointed Kristina Arriaga to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Five days earlier, President Trump appointed Gary L. Bauer, Nadine Maenza, and Johnnie Moore to the Commission.
USCIRF Reports Decline of Religious Freedom in 2017
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2018 Annual Report April 25, documenting violations and progress in 2017 on religious freedom issues in 28 countries.
Celebrating 20 Years of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) summit commemorates the 20th anniversary of the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
December 6, 2017 •
Blasphemy Laws and Their Threat to Religious Freedom
According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), more than one-third of the world’s countries criminalize blasphemy—speaking ill of things sacred to indigenous religions. In some countries, blasphemy carries a death sentence.
November 29, 2017 •
Tillerson Urges Myanmar to Investigate Rohingya Attacks
On November 15, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Myanmar to meet with Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian head of the country, to discuss “credible reports of widespread atrocities” by the country’s security forces against the minority Muslim Rohingya population.
November 7, 2017 •
Next Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Needs Only Senate Approval
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has just one more hurdle to pass on his way to assuming the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
October 27, 2017 •
Commemorating International Religious Freedom Day and the 19th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act
Did you know? Today is International Religious Freedom Day.
October 19, 2017 •
Blasphemy Laws: Religious Suppression and Political Authoritarianism
Elizabeth Cassidy and Andrew Kornbluth from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) presented the Commission’s findings on the world’s blasphemy laws October 17 at a conference held at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center in Washington D.C.
October 18, 2017 •
USCIRF Vice Chairwoman Testifies Before the House That Religious Freedom Violations Have Security Implications for the United States
Kristina Arriaga, Vice Chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), testified before the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee October 18 on the “government’s role in protecting international religious freedom.
President Trump Nominates Kansas Governor Sam Brownback for Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF)
If the Senate approves his nomination as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback will face unprecedented challenges in discharging his new responsibilities.
Trump’s New Religious Freedom Chief Has His Work Cut Out For Him
The nomination of Governor Sam Brownback for ambassador at-large for international religious freedom (IRF) provides a bright light of hope for those suffering religious persecution throughout the world.
USCIRF Chair Testifies at “Freedom of Belief: Countering Religious Violence” Hearing
“Today’s hearing is especially timely given the rise in religious extremism and increased restrictions on religious freedom worldwide,” said Thomas J. Reese, S.J., chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, addressing the U.S. Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission May 24.
“Grave Concerns” about Russia’s Repressive Policies Prompts Action
The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom has added Russia to its list of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) for the first time in two decades, prompted by the country’s recent repression of the rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Forum to Focus on Religious Freedom Report and Prisoners of Conscience
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2017 Annual Report, published April 26, is the subject of a May 17 forum in Washington, D.C. USCIRF Commissioners will speak at the event moderated by Religion News Service CEO Tom Gallagher.
February 1, 2017 •
Editorial Urges U.S. to Take ‘Firm and Resolute Stand’ for International Religious Liberty
A recent Op-Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer by U.S. State Department religious freedom leaders points to an important nexus in religious freedom abuses and other points of national security.
October 27, 2016 •
International Religious Freedom Day
Today, October 27, is International Religious Freedom Day. This year it commemorates the 17th anniversary of the enactment of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). The International Religious Freedom Act was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan initiative in the U.S.