Date:                            September 13, 2023


U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Hearing 

Advancing Religious Freedom within the U.S. - India Bilateral Relationship

Wednesday, September 20, 2023
9:30am-11:00am ET
216 Hart Senate Office Building

Register Here

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a hearing on religious freedom in India and how the U.S. government can work with the Indian government to address violations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington, D.C. reflects the close bilateral relationship between the United States and India. However, over the last decade, the Indian government has enacted and enforced discriminatory policies targeting religious minorities, including anti-conversion laws, cow slaughter laws, legislation granting citizenship preferences based on religion, and restrictions on foreign funding for civil society organizations. Recent trends include the eruption of violence between Hindus and Muslims in Haryana in July and targeted attacks against Christian and Jewish minorities in Manipur, highlighting the need for new strategies to mitigate violence against religious minorities in India.

Since 2020, USCIRF has recommended that the U.S. Department of State designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. Witnesses will discuss the Indian government’s legal framework and enforcement of discriminatory policies, explain current religious freedom conditions, and offer policy options for the United States to work with India to combat abuses of religious freedom and related human rights in the country.

Opening Remarks

  • Abraham Cooper, Chair, USCIRF
  • Frederick A. Davie, Vice Chair, USCIRF

Panel I

  • Fernand de Varennes, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues

Panel II

  • Tariq Ahmed, Foreign Law Specialist, Law Library of Congress
  • Sarah Yager, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director, Hindus for Human Rights
  • Irfan Nooruddin, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Indian Politics, Georgetown University

This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. If you will be attending in person, please register here. The hearing will also be livestreamed, and the video recording will be posted on the Commission website. Members of the media can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any questions or to schedule an interview. For any additional questions, please email Danielle Ashbahian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..