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Lankford Applauds 2022 USCIRF Report to Spotlight Worldwide Religious Liberty Concerns

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) offered the following statement in response to the release of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) 2022 Annual Report, which includes the Commission’s recommendations to the State Department for the designation of Countries of Particular Concern and recommendations for its Special Watch List:

“Religious liberty abuse is human rights abuse,” said Lankford. “We have constitutional protections for every American so that they can have a faith, live that faith or change their faith. I believe we should work with our partners in the US and abroad to make sure that important value extends to people everywhere. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s Annual Report is one way we are able to shine light on religious liberty abuses and hold other nations accountable. Recommending the State Department designate Nigeria and Afghanistan as Countries of Particular Concern is a big step forward to hold their governments accountable for their persecution of people of faith. We must continue to call out persecution where we see it.”

The USCIRF Annual Report recommends the designation of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Syria, and Vietnam as Countries of Particular Concern and Algeria, Cuba, Nicaragua, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan for the Special Watch List.

Lankford remains a leader in advancing religious liberty and human rights around the world. Lankford joined Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and their colleagues to introduce legislation to reauthorize the independent US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) through 2024. Lankford introduced legislation to reauthorize the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Lankford recently received the Hero on the Hill award from Jeff King, President of the International Christian Concern (ICC), for his work to bring to light the persecution of people of faith around the world and his work to advance religious freedom.

This summer, Lankford received the inaugural International Religious Freedom (IRF) Champion Award, presented by Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback under the Trump Administration. Lankford introduced a resolution to call for the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws around the world, which passed the Senate unanimously.