House Considers Creation of Religious Freedom Envoy in Middle East, Asia

Jul 28th, 2011 | By | Category: News Posts
Ambassador John Hanford

Ambassador Hanford

The House is on the verge of voting to create a new diplomatic post charged with defending religious freedom overseas, following a string of attacks against religious minorities in the turbulent Middle East and beyond.

The envoy would be charged with monitoring discrimination in dozens of countries, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Libya, among others.

According to the legislation, the new diplomat — to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate — would be tasked with monitoring discrimination and religious violence against minorities and working with foreign governments to deal with “inherently discriminatory” laws.

The envoy would also work with nongovernmental organizations and report back to the secretary of state on those issues. The position would be separate from the sitting “ambassador-at-large” for religious freedom.

Lawmakers have not said who they have in mind for the job, but are heading for a vote on the position as early as Thursday morning. Read more

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