Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of S. 2078, which continues the work of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for four years.  The legislation now heads to the President’s desk to become law.

The vote follows a closed briefing recently held by the Foreign Affairs Committee during which the Committee met privately with “Bazi,” a young Yezidi woman from Iraq who bravely recounted her brutal captivity and abuse at the hands of ISIS.  Because ISIS regards the Yezidi religion as pagan, it claims the right to enslave, rape, and sell Yezidi women and children.

On the legislation’s passage, Chairman Royce said: “Tragically, religious believers are under siege around the world: from Christian minorities in the Middle East, to the Baha’i in Iran, to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.  But today, we are taking steps to ensure that freedom of religion — under constant threat from extremists and authoritarian governments — remains front and center in U.S. foreign policy.  This legislation allows the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to continue its non-partisan mission of promoting religious liberty around the world.”

Note: Congress established the Commission in 1998 out of concern that the fundamental freedom of religion was under siege in many places around the world, yet did not receive adequate attention in U.S. foreign policy. The Commission is a strong, independent, authoritative voice for religious believers everywhere.