ICC Hosts Event to Garner Support for USCIRF Reauthorization

04/16/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – On April 11, International Christian Concern (ICC) hosted an event titled “The Global Status of Religious Freedom: USCIRF Needed Now More than Ever.” The event not only highlighted the crucial mission and successes of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), but also called on Congress to pass legislation reauthorizing the Commission permanently or, at the very least, for another term. USCIRF is a federal commission committed to shedding light on acts of religious persecution and fostering interfaith dialogue around the world.

Featured speakers at the event were USCIRF Commissioners, Gayle Manchin and Gary Bauer; President of International Christian Concern, Jeff King; and Chair of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, Greg Mitchell. There was also a panel discussion which focused on persecution in specific regions around the world. CEO of Boat People SOS, Thang Nguyen, spoke about Hmong Christians in Vietnam; Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology, Sue Taylor, spoke about Scientologists in Eastern Europe; and President of the Jubilee Campaign, Ann Buwalda, spoke about Christians in Nigeria. The panel was moderated by ICC’s Director of Advocacy, Matias Perttula, who also shared at the event.

“USCIRF Commissioners are private-citizen volunteers,” said Commissioner Manchin. “We come from different political parties, different faith and professional backgrounds, and different parts of the country. Yet we all agree on certain things. These include the importance of freedom of religion or belief for everyone, everywhere, and the need to shine a light on the severe abuses so many individuals – of all faiths, and of none – suffer for exercising their right to religious freedom.”

The event was a great success. It was standing room only, as the room in the Cannon House Office Building was filled with congressional staffers, NGO leaders, and concerned citizens. ICC hopes that the event’s message of bipartisanship and solidarity with the persecuted will encourage lawmakers to reauthorize the Commission later this year.

To learn more about International Christian Concern’s advocacy work and the effort to reauthorize USCIRF, please contact Matias Perttula at advocacy.dir@persecution.org

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