Role of the US religious freedom commission

Written by The Frontier Post

According to US media, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released its factsheet on the global scenario of the Refugees Fleeing Religious Persecution in different parts of the world. The factsheet of the American state-owned think tank and religious freedom regulator has highlighted the global scale of religious persecution due to ethnic, religious or territorial prejudices along with geographical displacement of the masses in several countries including Afghanistan, Burma, the Central African Republic (CAR), China, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Ukraine, and Vietnam. According to USCIRF, as of the end of 2021, over 82 million people were displaced worldwide including 27 million refugees.

Usually, the USCIRF provides an overview of US policy relating to these refugee populations, highlighting the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) as a critical pathway for refugees seeking safety in the United States along with recommendations to the US government to further support refugees, including those who have fled religious persecution in their communities.

It also suggests the US government accommodate the refugees and people in distress under the provisions of the Lautenberg Amendment Act, of the US Constitution, however, the final decision always rests with the US administration. Presently, the Biden administration has set a target of admitting about 125,000 refugees in the current fiscal year and the USCIRF had proposed the US Department of State prioritise the resettlement of most vulnerable refugees including religiously persecuted communities from Afghanistan, Iran, Burma along with the individual asylum seekers from across the globe. The US International Religious Freedom Commission also recommends the US government take action against the countries involved in the religious persecution of their minorities, hence, such decisions had always been driven by political motives instead of the promotion of religious liberties. The USCIRF also monitors the difficulties of the refugees in their host countries and transnational issues relating to the boarding and lodging during the process, the resettlement and court proceedings in connection with the process of asylum. However, being an advisory body the commission had always stood in the support of refugees, and vulnerable communities but its voice always remained weak and unheard in the past.

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