Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). Established as an independent, bipartisan, federal government entity, USCIRF monitors the status of freedom of religion or belief abroad and provides policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
These recommendations are formally presented through USCIRF’s Annual Report . The 2014 report covers 34 countries. Country chapters begin with a one-page overview of USCIRF’s findings, the reasons for the country’s designation by USCIRF, and priority recommendations for action. Each chapter documents events that took place over the reporting period, discusses relevant legal and human rights issues, emphasizes important elements of the bilateral relationship with the U.S., and details recommendations that would promote freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief as a more integral part of U.S. policy. USCIRF’s annual report also includes chapters on, and recommendations for U.S. policy concerning, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and U.S. refugee and asylum policy.
USCIRF is composed of nine private sector commissioners who volunteer their time in support of USCIRF’s mandate, and the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who is a non-voting member. Commissioners are appointed by the President and Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. USCIRF is a congressionally created entity, not a non-governmental organization, interest group or advocacy organization.more » « less