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  • Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia, MDiv.

Reauthorization of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

Updated: Nov 2


Dear Senator Rubio,


We write as an informal group of 71 organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious and secular leaders, human rights advocates, and practitioners to express our gratitude for your vote to the reauthorize the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and to encourage your support for USCIRF during the appropriations process.



2022 USCIRF Appropriations Letter Final
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We strongly urge you to maintain the current funding for USCIRF at $4.5 million for FY 23 and to come to a bipartisan agreement on the appropriations language process so the commission can effectively continue its designated mission of advancing the freedom of religion or belief internationally.

From our various experiences, we’ve seen the Commission play a vital role as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy infrastructure by reporting on those around the world who suffer for their beliefs, conscience, or religion. Robust reporting products, advocating for prisoners of conscience, and resources such as prisoner lists are essential tools used often by civil society to advance this fundamental human right, which is a foreign policy priority of the United States as defined by Congress in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

Additionally, being heard and respected by an agency of the United States government is invaluable to a person who has been persecuted for their faith. The impact of their story being told and published by the U.S. government encourages them, supports recovery, and inspires their broader community to become even greater advocates for those who are still harmed.


We, the undersigned, thank you for your dedication to upholding these fundamental freedoms and again urge that USCIRF continue to be appropriated $4.5 million in FY 23 to support its vitally important work.



Sincerely,


ORGANIZATIONS:

1. 21Wilberforce

2. Advocacy for Justice and Faith in Vietnam

3. American Muslim & Multifaith Women's Empowerment Council

4. Association for the Advancement of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam - USA 5. Baha'is of the United States

6. Boat People SOS

7. Buddhist Solidarity Association

8. Cao Dai Tay Ninh Temples of Texas

9. CaoDai Today

10. Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

11. Churches for Middle East Peace

12. Con Dau Parishioners Association

13. Congolese Integration Network

14. Coptic Solidarity

15. Decency & Clarity

16. Diaspora Alliance

17. Genocide Watch

18. Global Peace Foundation

19. IJAVN Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam

20. In Defense of Christians

21. International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights

22. IRF Secretariat

23. Jubilee Campaign USA

24. Jurists for Vietnam

25. Leah Foundation

26. Mekong Working Group on Freedom of Religion and Belief (MEFORB) in the Southeast Asian Grassroots Alliance (SAGA)

27. Parity

28. Prayer Pioneers

29. Red Eagle Enterprises

30. Set My People Free

31. Shia Rights Watch

32. Stichting Vietnam Human Rights Foundation

33. Syriac National Council of Syria

34. The Committee to Unite Cao-Dai Disciples

35. The Philos Project

36. The Union for Reform Judaism

37. United Sikhs

38. Vietnamese American Community in the USA

39. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights

40. World Sikh Parliament

INDIVIDUALS:

1. Anna Sineva, Director of Government Relations & Public Policy, Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

2. Anthony Vance, Director of Public Affairs, Baha'is of the United States 3. Bassam Said Ishak, Syriac National Council of Syria

4. Binh Tran PharmD., President, Antelope Valley Vietnamese Association 5. Camilla P. Lewis, Africa Working Group IRF

6. Dogan Bermek, President / ADO, Alevi Philosophy Center Association 7. Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia MDiv., Oliva International, LLC.

8. Dr. Gloria Samdi Puldu, President, Leah Foundation

9. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, CEO & President, Boat People SOS

10. Dr. Paul Murray, International Vice President, Religious Freedom Initiatives 11. Dr. Tuğba Tanyeri Erdemir

12. Emmanuel Ihim, Executive Director, Diaspora Alliance

13. Floribert Mubalama, Founder and Executive Director, Congolese Integration Network 14. Giaquoc Nguyen, Overseas Coordinator & Representative, IJAVN Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam

15. Hamid Gharagozloo, U.S. Representative, International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights

16. Jasmit Jesse Jaspal Singh, World Sikh Parliament & United Sikhs 17. Kyle Cristofalo, Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, Churches for Middle East Peace

18. Lela GIlbert, Fellow, Hudson Institute

19. Max Wiegel

20. Minh Lê, Advocacy for Justice and Faith in Vietnam

21. Minhdao Le, Vice President of External Affairs, Cao Dai Tay Ninh Temples of Texas 22. Mustafa Akhwand, Shia Rights Watch

23. Nadine Maenza, President, IRF Secretariat

24. Quang Pham, Representative, Association for the Advancement of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam - USA

25. Rev. Chaplain Victoria Sheahan

26. Rev. Dr. Scott Stearman, U.N. Representative, Baptist World Alliance 27. Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Parity

28. Satoshi Nishihata, Bureau Chief, Happy Science USA Bureau

29. Scott Morgan, President, Red Eagle Enterprises

30. Susan Taylor, Co-Chair, IRF Roundtable Congressional Working Group 31. Thien Nguyen, Buddhist Solidarity Association



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