Last month the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect in the United States. The Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region urged US importers not to dump goods linked to the Uyghur Region into other markets and to not re-export tainted goods. Hundreds of companies have been publicly identified as having links to Uyghur forced labor.
Numerous reports have revealed how sourcing from the Uyghur Region, or doing business with suppliers involved in state-imposed forced labor schemes, makes corporations complicit in forced labor. The Coalition’s Call to Action, launched two years’ ago and endorsed by more than 400 civil society organizations from over 40 countries, called on corporations to remove any content from the Uyghur Region from their supply chains to ensure they’re not supporting or benefiting from the pervasive forced labor of the Uyghur population and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples. The UFLPA now, in effect, codifies those demands into law in the US market. Read more.
Nigeria—and a Few Other Nations—Are on Alert. US Department of State 2021 IRF Report Released
The US Department of State released its 2021 annual report on international religious freedom (IRF) last week, describing conditions in nearly 200 nations. Delivering remarks from the Benjamin Franklin room—where US ambassadors are sworn into service—Secretary of State Antony Blinken presented a litany of well-known offenders. China, he said, continues its genocide against Uighur Muslims.
Saudi Arabia makes illegal the practice of any faith besides Islam. Pakistan sentences people to death for blasphemy. And Eritrea demands renunciation of faith to release the arrested members of religious minorities. “Respect for religious freedom isn’t only one of the deepest held values and a fundamental right,” Blinken stated. “It’s also, from my perspective, a vital foreign policy priority. Read more.
Launching a Global Movement to Stand for Those Imprisoned for Their Religion or Beliefs
The Global Campaign for Religious Prisoners of Conscience (RPOCs), to be launched at the 2022 IRF Summit in Washington D.C., seeks to raise awareness about violations around the world of the fundamental right to religious freedom. Governments and non-state actors commit these violations, which have led to an untold number of people being unjustly imprisoned for their religious beliefs, actions, and/or advocacy.
Central to the campaign is its focus on people, individual RPOCs, who suffer the often-devastating consequences of unjust laws and/or practices. People are ill-equipped to process numbers and suffering on a grand scale, and often are numbed by statistics and events seemingly beyond their control. But we can understand and feel compelled to work on behalf of an imprisoned religious leader, a disappeared child, or an individual tortured by an unjust government or a non-state actor. Ultimately, we want these prisoners of conscience freed and repressive laws, policies and practices changed. Read more.
USCIRF Delegation Travels to Nigeria to Assess Religious Freedom Conditions
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Frederick A. Davie along with USCIRF staff traveled to Abuja, Nigeria from June 4-11 to meet with Nigerian and U.S. government officials, religious communities, civil society representatives, and human rights defenders to assess religious freedom conditions and discuss threats facing Nigerians of a range of faiths and worldviews.
“Nigeria is home to diverse religious and belief communities, and we were fortunate to learn from an array of perspectives about the state of religious freedom in the country. Our meetings highlighted the complexity of the drivers of violence in Nigeria and the intersection of religious freedom and other security and human rights concerns,” USCIRF Commissioner Davie said. “USCIRF looks forward to incorporating the findings from this visit into our foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress relating to religious freedom in Nigeria.” Read more.
21Wilberforce Team Will Participate in the IRF Summit Civil Society Congress
The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit 2022 will convene a Civil Society Congress that will develop ideas to promote religious freedom and innovate solutions for threats faith communities face around the world. The congress—which will take place June 28 from 2-6 p.m. at Renaissance Washington’s Potomac Ballroom—will provide organizations and religious communities the opportunity to send a delegation to present their proposal in front of their fellow advocates, as well as a listening panel of government representatives. All proposals will be collected and published in a report. Read the contribution from 21Wilberforce.
OTHER USEFUL LINKS
FoRB Women’s Alliance is a global community of religious freedom and human rights advocates and future leaders with a shared vision: advancing freedom of religion or belief for women. Learn more here.
You are invited to attend IRF Summit 2022 in Washington, DC (or virtual) June 28th – June 30th. Learn more here.