Date: October 18, 2021
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Hearing
Sanctions and Implications for International Religious Freedom
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a virtual hearing that will consider how the U.S. government can advance international religious freedom through targeted sanctions.
Through the 2016 Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the related 2017 executive order, E.O. 13818, the U.S. government can issue visa bans and asset freezes against foreign persons involved in “serious human rights abuses,” including violations of religious freedom. Visa bans are also possible through Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act. These tools have been used to impose consequences on violators of religious freedom in a variety of contexts, including Burma, China, Iran, and Russia. These examples represent only a small percentage of the religious freedom violations occurring globally. A more aggressive and effective targeted sanctions regimen can contribute to deterring religious freedom violators, holding perpetrators accountable, leading to a world where all are free to practice their religion or belief.
With legislative authority for Global Magnitsky sanctions expiring in 2022, the reauthorization process presents an opportunity to strengthen and expand targeted sanctions programs. Witnesses will explain how sanctions are utilized within the broader U.S. foreign policy strategy to address religious freedom violations and discuss ways to use these tools to curtail such violations.
- Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
- Nadine Maenza, Chair, USCIRF
- Nury Turkel, Vice Chair, USCIRF
- Michael Weber, Analyst, Congressional Research Service
- Michael Breen, President and CEO, Human Rights First
- Justyna Gudzowska, Director of Illicit Finance Policy, The Sentry
- Annie Boyajian, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, Freedom House
This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. Members of the media should register online and can email