Date: December 2, 2022
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:
Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Victims List – This factsheet provides a background of USCIRF’s FoRB Victims List, a database that catalogues victims who have been detained, imprisoned, placed under house arrest, disappeared, forced to renounce their faith, and tortured for their religious belief, religious activity, and religious freedom advocacy. The report summarizes the FoRB Victims List’s congressional mandate as well as the standards and processes for including persons on the list.
USCIRF’s FoRB Victims List includes over 1,800 profiles. The following highlights some of the victims included in the database:
- Nicaragua arrested Bishop Rolando Álvarez for criticizing the government’s ongoing crackdown
- Iran intensified its campaign against Baha’is like Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi
- Russia abducted Ukrainian clergy like Pastor Leonid Ponomaryov and Tatyana Ponomaryov
- Saudi Arabia handed down harsh prison sentences to Salma al-Shehab and Jalal Labbad
- Pakistan sentenced Notan Lal to life imprisonment for blasphemy
- Vietnam allowed An Dan Dai Dao founder Phan Van Thu to die in prison
- China continued to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners like Xu Na on “cult” charges
In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State designate 15 countries as CPCs for engaging in or tolerating “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” It also recommended 12 countries for placement on the SWL and seven non-state actors for redesignation as EPCs.
Individuals and organizations with credible information on victims can submit that information for possible inclusion in the database using the FoRB Victims List Intake Form.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a commissioner, please contact USCIRF at