Bahai News - Religious Freedom: a Global View May 23, 2001 11:53

Religious Freedom: a Global View; Hyde Schedules Thursday Hearing With U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON, May 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Established by Congress in 1998, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently published findings critical of China, India, Indonesia, North Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, and Vietnam, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The commission, which includes prominent leaders of the Baha'i, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities, was established to monitor religious freedom around the world, and is required to issue a report on May 1 of each year.

WHAT: Oversight hearing on the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

WHEN: 11:30, Thursday, May 24, 2001

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Bldg.

WITNESSES SCHEDULED: Elliott Abrams, chairman, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and president, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Rabbi David Saperstein, commissioner, USCIRF, and director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Laila al-Marayati, commissioner, USCIRF, and past President, Muslim Women's League; Nina Shea, commissioner, USCIRF, and director, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House.

What are criticisms of some countries cited in the report?

    * Several governments cited in the 2001 report were selected because of
      their involvement with systematic violations of religious freedom,
      including in some cases imprisonment and torture on account of religious
      belief and practice. Others on the list do not actively engage in such
      violations but, according to the report, do little or nothing to stop
      religious persecution of minority groups.

    What happens next?

    * The annual report also suggests policy changes including recommendations
      for: restrictions on U.S. foreign aid to ensure such aid does not
      subsidize governments or groups actively engaged in religious
      persecution; additional foreign assistance for projects designed to
      encourage religious tolerance; restrictions on access to U.S.  capital
      markets by governments or groups contributing to religious persecution;
      and proposals to formalize U.S. opposition to certain loans by
      international financial institutions to governments engaged in such
      persecution.
SOURCE U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations

/CONTACT: Sam Stratman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, 202-226-7875/


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