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USCIRF Hearing: Strategies for Religious Freedom in Fragile States

September 22 at 10:30 am - 12:00 pm EDT

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a virtual hearing on how the U.S. government can promote and help protect religious freedom in fragile states.

In recent years, the U.S. government has begun revising its approach to addressing violence and conflict prevention in fragile contexts.  In 2018 the U.S. government published the Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR). The Global Fragility Act was passed and signed into law with strong bipartisan support in 2019. These developments, which require long-term planning and organizational discipline across U.S. foreign policy interagency processes, present a starting point to discuss how religious freedom can advance U.S. stabilization efforts and how U.S. policy in fragile states can better support individuals whose rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and worship are under threat.

Countries with fragile contexts, such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen present uniquely challenging landscapes for U.S. government officials to promote and protect religious freedom. When governments lack control over their territory or the support of their populations, common tools like diplomacy or sanctions often prove ineffective in promoting the fundamental rights of freedom of religion or belief.

This hearing will explore the intersection of religious freedom and fragility, the tools that the U.S. government has to promote freedom of religion or belief abroad, the role that religious leaders and communities can play in strengthening stabilization efforts, and how the U.S. government can better promote and help protect religious freedom in fragile states.