Hosted by Emerging Leaders

Religious Prisoners of Conscience Track

Launching a global movement to stand for those who are 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.

The Emerging Leaders, with the support of 21Wilberforce and BPSOS, will play a key role in coordinating activities before, during, and after the IRF Summit. If you are an emerging leader under the age of 30, take advantage of our opportunities to get involved. 

The RPOC Track activities include:

  • Pre-Summit legislative advocacy trainings.
  • Interactive advocacy training panels at the Summit on key issues, including the persecution of women and girls and effective advocacy in the media, grassroots and with elected officials in River Birch Room B.
  • Opportunities to learn about and get involved in campaigns for specific religious prisoners of conscience throughout the conference at the RPOC Track Headquarters in Meeting Room 16.

RPOC Track Webpage powered by:



Location: Meeting Room 16, Renaissance Hotel (Campaign presentations throughout June 28-30)

And many streamed virtually at:

Advocacy Training Side Events

Religious Prisoner of Conscience Track Events

Campaign Presentations Schedule

Partner Campaigns

Throughout the Week in Meeting Room 16

Click to view full schedule

Main Advocacy Training

Thursday, 30th from 2:30-5:20pm 

Click to view full schedule

Represented Religious Prisoner of Conscience Campaigns

Advocacy Trainings Schedule - Thursday, June 30th

Renaissance Hotel - River Birch B / June 30th, 2:30-5:30 pm

21Wilberforce, Boat People SOS, and the IRF Roundtable Women’s Working Group will host the following series of interactive advocacy trainings.

2:30 – 3:20 PM: Advocating for Women and Girls Persecuted for their Religion or BeliefSponsored by IRF Roundtable Women’s Working Group, 21Wilberforce, and BPSOS

    • Women and girls face distinctive forms of persecution because of their gender and religion or belief identity. This gender-specific experience of persecution often is intensified by their social-economic status and cultural norms. These and other factors often make them targets of more hidden forms of persecution including torture, rape, abduction, and forced marriages, conversions and renunciations of their faith.
      More knowledge can help generate better advocacy. Join a lively discussion to learn more, ask questions about, and discuss women and girls and FORB.
    • Panelists:
      • Elizabeth Lane Miller—Women’s Persecution Specialist, Open Doors
      • Dr. Samina Salim—  Indian American Muslim Religious Freedom Activist
      • Kalbinur Gheni — Sister of Renagul Gheni—RPOC in China
      • Sharifah Shakirah—Rohingya refugee, founder of Women and Refugee Rights Coordinator, Free Rohingya Coalition
      • Judith Golub — FORB Advocate (Moderator)

3:30pm – 4:20 PM: Advocacy for the Protection of Victims of Religious PersecutionSponsored by BPSOS

    • People worldwide too often suffer the consequences of unjust laws and/or practices that violate their religious freedom. Advocating for policies that focus on protection should be a critical component of any comprehensive strategy to promote international religious freedom. Successful advocacy needs to be based on skillfully working with government officials as well as on grassroots organizing. Join this session to learn about and discuss best practices in advocating with elected officials, with government officials and in the grassroots from experienced advocates who have run effective campaigns focusing on protecting victims of religious persecution, both in their home countries and in countries to which they have been forced to flee. The panel will include the perspective of a government official about collaboration with civil society.
    • Panelists:
      • Julie Millsap— Government Relations Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project
      • H’biap Krong—Montagnard Christian Advocate and Refugee
      • Judith Golub —  FORB Advocate (Moderator)

4:30 – 5:30 PM – Strategic Communications in AdvocacySponsored by 21Wilberforce

    • This session will focus on sharing how to structure effective advocacy campaigns around a carefully designed and executed communications strategy and its core elements — impact goals, target audiences, channels, and customized messaging. The trainers will discuss how to best utilize communication channels such as social media, traditional news services, and other networking tools to advocate with policymakers and mobilize grassroots supporters.
      Following framing of the topic and issues, the moderator/s will engage the panelists (successful campaign advocates [e.g., Yazidi and Rohingya campaigns] with experience and lessons learned in designing and implementing communications strategies) and facilitate Q&A and interaction with the audience.
    • Panelists:
      • Chelsea Hedquist—Director of Public Affairs & Advocacy, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice 
      • Pari Ibrahim—Founder and Director, Free Yazidi Foundation 
      • Jan Jan Maran — Founder and Executive, Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy
      • Lou Ann Sabatier — Communications Director (Moderator)


Ready to learn how you can be an effective advocate for international religious freedom and human rights in your community? Register at the button below!

We still have plenty of in-person spots at the summit for interested advocates and emerging leaders! If you haven't already registered for the IRF Summit you can register today! Please email us any questions at

Registration Costs:

Basic In-Person Package Registration: $149 (Does not include travel, food, or hotel expenses)

(If you are only interested in the virtual options, you can sign up for free at the "Sign up for Updates" button on this page.)



Provided below are several helpful resources and campaigns from our convening partners that we encourage you to explore as you prepare for the summit! Learn more about religious freedom and the many ways you can get involved.

Religious Prisoner of Conscience Track Partners