Six days ago Congress passed a bill strengthening the International Religious Freedom Act, which it passed in 1998. Three days ago, President Obama signed the bill into law.
Here is a piece detailing the good news.
From the piece, here are three features of the law that enhance the religious freedom capacities of the U.S. government:
- Requiring the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom to report directly to the secretary of State;
- Establishing an “entities of particular concern” category—a companion to the “countries of particular concern” classification used for nearly 20 years by the State Department—for non-government actors, such as the Islamic State (IS) and the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram.
- Instituting a “designated persons list” for individuals who violate religious freedom and authorizing the president to issue sanctions against those who participate in persecution.
Let us now urge President-Elect Trump to appoint a strong Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom — though it would be hard to improve upon the present one, Rabbi David Saperstein.