Date:                     November 20, 2020


Washington, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Ukraine Religious Freedom Support Act (H.R. 5408) and urges Senate passage of the bill.
The Ukraine Religious Freedom Support Act (H.R. 5408) is a critical piece of legislation that will help hold Russia accountable for its many religious freedom violations in occupied Ukraine,” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel stated. “We welcome passage of the bill in the House, and commend Representatives Joe Wilson and Emanuel Cleaver for their effective bipartisan leadership. USCIRF urges swift approval in the Senate and asks the President to sign it.”

Representative Wilson recently spoke about the importance of this bill at USCIRF’s hearing on Religious Freedom in Russia and Central Asia.

“Russia continues to persecute Crimean Tatar Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ukrainian Orthodox, and other religious minorities through its illegal occupation of Ukraine,” added USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “The time has come for the Department of State to designate Russia a County of Particular Concern (CPC) for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations. H.R. 5408 will help to make that a reality, which is sorely needed by the longsuffering people of occupied Ukraine.”

USCIRF recommended that the State Department designate Russia as a CPC in its 2020 Annual Report, and advocated for this action in a recent editorial, as well as through reports on Religious Regulation in Russia and the Global Persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The State Department’s next CPC designations are expected before the end of this year.