PASSED: Lankford, Rubio Effort To Authorize Vital Commission Aimed at Supporting Religious Freedom Internationally

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, is a bipartisan commission that monitors and reports on religious freedom internationally. The commission’s authorization is currently set to expire September 30, 2022. 

Less than two weeks before USCIRF’s authorization expires, the US House of Representatives passed Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2022, which reauthorizes USCIRF through fiscal year 2024. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Chris Coons (D-DE) joined Lankford and Rubio in introducing the bill.

“USCIRF does invaluable work to help our nation protect and promote the unalienable human right of religious freedom for all people of every faith around the world. I’m glad to see the House finally take up/pass my bill to reauthorize this commission,” said Lankford

“I’m grateful the House has voted to reauthorize USCIRF’s mission and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom everywhere. USCIRF does phenomenal work defending this sacred right around the globe, but its authorization will expire in just a matter of days. President Biden must sign our bill immediately,”  said Rubio 

“The House passage of our USCIRF reauthorization bill is an important step in ensuring the United States can properly promote religious freedom around the globe and investigate violations, including the persecution of Yazidis, Baha’is, Christians, and others in the Middle East, genocide of Uyghurs in China, and attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. I hope the president will sign this legislation into law quickly,” said Risch 

“The United States has a long tradition of promoting religious freedom abroad, and this Commission is dedicated to advising Congress and the Executive Branch about how to successfully ensure religious freedom is protected and that religion is not exploited to justify human rights abuses. As the global refugee crisis worsens, the United States must do more to address the scourge of religious persecution, including holding perpetrators accountable and providing a safe haven to refugees. It’s heartening to see Congress come together on this pressing issue to ensure that the Commission can effectively fulfill its mission,” said Durbin

“I’m proud to have worked to protect international religious freedom by passing the USCIRF Reauthorization in the Senate on a bipartisan basis, and I’m glad that our House colleagues have finally passed and sent the bill to President Biden for his signature. Around the world, communities like the Rohingya in Burma, Christians in Nigeria, and Uyghurs in China face horrific attacks because they practice their human right to freedom of religion. The United States is built on the founding value of religious freedom, and we must continue to work with our international partners to ensure the global community enjoys the same opportunity to peacefully worship,” said Coons