International

Religious Freedom

People of faith face discrimination in most of the world.

Governments, hostile religious groups and terrorists destroy places of worship, harrass and intimidate people of minority faiths and inflict lethal violence on individuals simply for following their faith.

The U.S. Government has established several offices (see below) to focus on and advance international religious freedom: the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State, and the independent, nonpartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Freedom2Care meets regularly with officials from these offices.

Persecution worldwide demonstrates what happens when countries limit or forbid religious freedom. This should serve to remind us to pray and advocate for the persecuted and also to make sure that the United States faithfully implements its heritage and Constitutional commitments to the free exercise of religion.

State Dept Office International Freedom.
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The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. The Office monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommends and implements policies in respective regions or countries, and develops programs to promote religious freedom.

Sec. Pompeo on Report Release
Amb. Brownback on COVID-19
 

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties.

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International News

 

May 27, 2020

USCIRF Welcomes Passage of Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in House of Representatives

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Once signed by the president, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act would make U.S. concerns about the persecution of Uyghurs part of official U.S. policy toward China. It would direct the administration to impose financial sanctions and visa bans under the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese government officials responsible for the persecution of Uyghur and other Muslims. In addition, the bill would require the State Department to report on human rights abuses in Xinjiang—including formal estimates of the number of individuals detained in concentration camps—and the FBI to submit a report to Congress on attempts by Chinese government agents to intimidate and harass Uyghurs and Chinese nationals legally residing in the United States.

May 27, 2020

The End of the Rule of Law in Hong Kong? What China’s New Crackdown Could Mean

Daily Signal podcast interview with Mike Gonzalez

Now they’re seeing what was started in the middle of the 19th century, there’s a very real risk that it could end and Hong Kong could become like any other city in the mainland where human rights are not respected, where people get thrown into prison, they’re not able to speak their mind, they’re not able to choose a religion they follow. They’re not able to choose any religion, really, except for state-sanctioned ones that are not really religion.

May 12, 2020

USCIRF Reiterates Call for Appointment of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

“The Chinese Communist Party is attempting to erase the unique identity of Tibetan Buddhism,” noted USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “We need to utilize all of the policy tools available, including the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, to confront this grave threat to religious freedom.”
“Chinese authorities have sinicized Tibetan Buddhism by interfering in the reincarnation successions of His Holinesses Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama, introducing ‘Ethic Unity Laws’ to micromanage Tibetan monasteries, and using high tech surveillance to suppress Tibetan religious freedom and human rights,” USCIRF Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee added. “Henceforth, it’s high time to appoint the Special Coordinator for Tibet issues.”

May 11, 2020

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo interview by Jim Daly

Focus on the Family

We’ve been very focused on trying to get the Chinese Communist Party to open up, to get transparency, so we can see what we need to see to save lives and get our economy going back again. But all around the world, we have made clear America is prepared to lead.  We’re going to do the right things.  We have this nation founded on this central document that permits us to pursue life, liberty, happiness for our people, and when we do that, and we do that well, the State Department delivers that all across the world and that redounds to the benefit of every American.

May 11, 2020

USCIRF Releases New Report on Religious Freedom Conditions in Bangladesh

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Bangladesh Factsheet - This report provides an overview of religious freedom conditions in Bangladesh in recent years. Despite constitutional protections for religious freedom, the country’s religious minorities, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, have continued to face various challenges to their freedom of religion or belief. Among them are the introduction and enforcement of the Digital Security Act with provisions that criminalize blasphemy; ongoing problems with the legacy of the Vested Property Act; and challenges posed by the rise of religious extremism and local law enforcement.

May 08, 2020

USCIRF Welcomes Establishment of Pakistan’s National Commission for Minorities as a First Step

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

“We are encouraged by the formation of the National Commission for Minorities as a governmental body promoting the rights of religious minorities within Pakistan; it’s an important step in Pakistan’s continuing journey towards the protection of religious freedom,” stated USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “USCIRF encourages the Pakistani government to empower the Commission with the proper authority to meet its intended purpose as defined by the Supreme Court.”

May 05, 2020

Don't let China Host the 2022 Olympics Without Honoring Human Rights Norms

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

According to numerous reports, the Chinese government has detained more than 1 million Uighur and other Muslims in concentration camps. Individuals have been sent to the camps for wearing long beards, refusing alcohol, or other behaviors that Chinese authorities decide constitute “religious extremism.” According to a recent report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Chinese companies have used Uighur detainees as forced labor in factories — including some in the supply chains of major American brands such as Apple, Nike, and Amazon.

April 15, 2020

Ambassador Brownback Delivers Remarks on Religious Freedom and COVID-19

U.S. Dept. of State

Around the world, there are countless individuals wrongly imprisoned on account of exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief.  Unfortunately, these individuals are also confined in detention facilities that are often unsanitary, overcrowded, and conducive to the spread of COVID-19.  With increasing infection rates, and death tallies growing, there could not be a more urgent time to press for the promotion and protection of religious freedom abroad.  In light of this, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback discusses the need for release of religious prisoners around the world. 

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