indica News Bureau –
Indian American civil rights lawyer Anurima Bhargava has been named the new Commissioner to the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the US Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad.
Bhargava, who is the founder and President of Anthem of Us, was appointed to her new post by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for a term ending May 19, 2020.
Born and raised in the south side of Chicago, she has extensive experience in various roles advocating for members of underrepresented communities, including at the US Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF).
“I commend Leader Pelosi for this superb appointment. With an impressive background and a demonstrated commitment to advocating for members of minority communities in the United States and abroad, Anurima Bhargava brings an important new perspective that will enhance the work of the Commission, especially on democratic India, with whom the United States has a long and proud relationship,” USCIRF Chair and Tibetan-American Tenzin Dorjee said.
In addition to her work at the Department of Justice and the LDF, Bhargava has served as a fellow at the Open Society Foundations and at Harvard University.
Before attending law school, Bhargava worked in India assisting women elected to local government. She has been a member of the Truman National Security Project and the Council on Foreign Relations.
She earned her law degree from Columbia Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.
The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) awarded Bhargava for her advocacy work around children and education, impacting the lives of thousands of children and families.
The USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief.
The US body advocation religious freedom was in news recently for its special report titled ‘Limitations on Minorities: Religious Freedom in South Asia’.
The report stated that anti-conversion laws were on a rise in South Asia and the US must work with its allies and apply pressure on governments to rescind laws that deny individuals the right to share and choose their religion freely.
A USCIRF hearing titled ‘Freedom of Religion or Belief in India: Rising Challenges & New Opportunities for US Policy’, would be held after the release of its annual report on international religious freedom in May next year.
In 2009, USCIRF had placed India on a list of countries that failed to protect its religious minorities adequately.