Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 5, 2004

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Establishing Religious Freedom Abroad

Hyde calls Wednesday hearing to analyze findings of annual religious freedom report 

BACKGROUND: The findings of the Department of Stateís sixth annual International Religious Freedom report and the designations of countries of particular concern (CPC) will be analyzed in a full committee hearing of the House International Relations Committee. The annual report and the CPC designationsócountries deemed to have engaged in serious violations of religious freedomówere Congressionally mandated through the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). Among its provisions, the IRFA called for the promotion and protection of religious freedom worldwide, established the Office of International Religious Freedom, created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, mandated annual reports; and called for Presidential action addressing severe violators of religious freedom. Eight countries were designated as CPC countries in 2004: Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.  

WHAT: Full Committee Hearing: Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 2004 and Designations of Countries of Particular Concern.
U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), Chairman

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 6, 2004

WHERE: Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Panel I: John Hanford III, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State. Panel II: Preeta Bansal, Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Panel III: Mark Levin, Executive Director, National Conference on Soviet Jewry; Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House; Timothy Shah, Senior Fellow in Religion and International Affairs, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; and Ali Al-Ahmed, Director, Saudi Institute.

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