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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Violations of the International Right to Freedom of Religion: Christians

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 10:00am
2172 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on violations of the right to freedom of religion of minority Christian populations around the world.   

The deadly Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka in April 2019 underscored the vulnerability of the Christian population in that country. Indeed, in many parts of the world, Christians are a vulnerable minority targeted for their faith. The Christian advocacy organization Open Doors USA, which maintains a world watch list, asserts that persecution of Christians is on the rise across the world, with over 4,000 killed for faith-related reasons and more than 1,200 churches or buildings attacked during the period of October 31, 2017 to November 1, 2018.

From North Korea, viewed by many as the worst country in the world in terms of Christian persecution, to Syria where Christian minorities were viciously targeted by ISIS, the  hearing will offer a global overview of the issue, with attention to several countries of particular concern.  It will examine sources of anti-Christian bias and U.S. policy responses.    

Ambassador Sam Brownback, who serves as the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF), will address countries and trends identified in the newly released State Department report on the state of international religious freedom. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s Nadine Maenza will present USCIRF’s assessment of the violations of the religious freedom of Christians around the globe.  Additional witnesses include representatives of Open Doors USA and the Religious Freedom Institute.

This hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website, and will also be available for viewing on Channel 55 of the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Piero Tozzi at 202-225-3765 (for Rep. Smith) or Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 (for Rep. McGovern).  

Hosted by: 

Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • The Hon. Sam Brownback, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony

Panel II

  • Nadine Maenza, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Written testimony 

Panel III

Submitted for the Record 


116th Congress