United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to Launch Extensive List of People Imprisoned for Their Faith Worldwide

(PHOTO: THE CHRISTIAN POST / SAMUEL SMITH)
USCIRF Commissioner Dr. Tenzin Dorjee speaks during the launch of USCIRF’s Prisoners of Conscience Project on April 6, 2017 at the United States Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has announced that it will launch a detailed list to provide the public with the names of thousands of people across the world who are imprisoned, being tortured or have disappeared because of their faith and religious freedom advocacy.

During the launch of the USCIRF Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, USCIRF Chair Rev. Thomas Reese announced that the commission is in the process of fulfilling a new congressional requirement mandated by the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act passed last December.

According to the law, USCIRF is required to make publicly available in “online and in official publications, lists of persons it determines are imprisoned or detained, have disappeared, been placed under house arrest, been tortured, or subjected to forced renunciations of faith for their religious activity or religious freedom advocacy.”

According to the law, the victims must be in a country that the commission designates as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom violations or persecuted by a non-state actor designated as an “entity of particular concern.”

“USCIRF is developing a form for NGOs … to fill out to give them a sense of the kind of information we will need in developing our prisoners list,” Reese said. “We are in the process of developing a website and staffing up for this project and we will send out the form electronically when we are ready to receive information. So this is a heads up.”

Reese, a Jesuit priest and senior analyst at National Catholic Reporter, told The Christian Post that the purpose of the list is to show that there are thousands of people who are prisoners because of their beliefs and their conscience.

“We want to raise them up to give notice to them and to target the countries that have hundreds, and in some countries thousands, of prisoners to hold them accountable for their actions,” he said.

 

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Samuel Smith