Persecuted religious groups speak up for each other on Capitol Hill, urges Congress to protect religious freedom

Jun. 20, 2022

‘Congressional Advocacy Day,’ June 27, kicks of International Religious Freedom Summit

WASHINGTON — On June 27, one day ahead of the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022, the summit is hosting a Congressional Advocacy Day to encourage convening organizations to present their causes and discuss religious freedom concerns with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill.

The day will kick off with a breakfast meeting at 8 a.m. EST at Belmont House (314 Independence Ave. SE) featuring the Honorable Rashad Hussain, ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

At 1 p.m. EST the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will host “Unflinching Voice”, an overview of USCIRF’s impact on religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The event will feature former congressman and USCIRF commissioner Frank Wolf. It will be held at Cannon House Office Building Room 121.

The day will culminate with “In Solidarity with the Persecuted” at 4 p.m. EST at the Rayburn Office House Building Room 2168 (Gold). The program will feature short testimonials of international religious freedom community leaders and persecuted faith communities speaking on behalf of each other. This year’s theme will focus on the prevention of genocide. The side event will include remarks by Co-Chairs Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and Sam Brownback, as well as Beth Van Schaack, U.S. ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, and Naomi Kikoler, Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. Seating for this event is limited and needs to be requested beforehand.

Amjad Mahmood Khan, an Ahmadi Muslim lawyer and law professor, is leading Congressional advocacy for the summit. Organizations scheduling meetings with members of Congress are urged to:

  • Mention the IRF Summit event and its objectives
  • Encourage the reauthorization of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Encourage members of Congress and staff to attend the “In Solidarity with the Persecuted” side event on June 27 (Rayburn Gold Room, 4 pm)
  • Encourage members of Congress to join the International Religious Freedom Caucus and designate a congressional staff person to attend virtual meetings of the IRF Roundtable on a moving forward basis.

More information on Congressional Advocacy Day available here.

The IRF Summit 2022 is the second annual gathering of international freedom advocates and activists from around the world. It will highlight increasing threats to freedom of religion, conscience and belief, and it will once again offer the IRF community a chance to come together to advance shared goals for extending these fundamental freedoms to people and faith communities across the globe.

The Summit is convened by Brownback and Dr. Katina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. It is supported by more than 70 diverse partners, including the IRF Secretariat, Religious Freedom Institute, Uyghur Human Rights Project, American Hindu Foundation, Open Doors, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, among others, and aims to bring greater attention to religious freedom violations and to create a powerful coalition of groups to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.

More information on the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is available here.

See the full schedule of events and the list of speakers for the summit here and here.


Register for the summit here.

International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is a powerful, broad coalition of religious, human rights and civil society groups that advocate for religious freedom for all people, everywhere at all times.

Samuel Brownback served as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (2018-21) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett is president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.