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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Freedom of Belief: Countering Religious Violence

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 1:30pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on United States’ policies on International Religious Freedom as a means for countering religious violence.

Global restrictions on freedom of belief, including both government repression and hostile acts from individuals and groups in society, are on the rise. A recent Pew Research Center report found that 40% of countries in 2015 have high or very high levels of restrictions, as compared to 34% of countries in 2014.

Religious groups around the globe are persecuted for their faith, a catalyst that can ignite greater societal unrest. U.S. policies seek to mitigate the rise of religious extremism and violence by promoting laws and social norms that bolster freedom of belief and release a pressure valve on social grievances.

Why are global restrictions on religion increasing, and how can U.S. international religious freedom policies prevent and counter religious violence? Are current U.S. policies on religious freedom achieving their desired outcomes? Witnesses will present testimony informed by their work on freedom of belief, and will discuss which policies are effective and which need to be reevaluated.

This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via YouTube on the Commission website, For any questions, please contact Jamie Staley (for Mr. Hultgren) at (202-226-1516) or or Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-226-6379 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • Rev. Thomas Reese, Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Written testimony

Panel II



115th Congress