FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2017
USCIRF Commends the White House for Action to Promote the Freedom of Religion or Belief
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the White House nomination of Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. As a Senator from 1996-2011, he was at the forefront of international religious freedom issues.
USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark stated that, “The Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is a vital post and Gov. Brownback is an outstanding choice for it. The person who fills this position will be America’s primary voice for the freedom of religion abroad and Gov. Brownback has impressive qualifications in this area. The Ambassador-at-Large also plays a key role in USCIRF’s work as an ex officio member of the Commission, so we look forward to working with him.”
While in the Senate, Gov. Brownback consistently supported religious freedom and human rights for all, serving as co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. His record included: legislation condemning Iran for its treatment of Baha’is; sanctions on Vietnam for human rights abuses; legislation to protect religious communities in Russia; and actions providing for humane treatment of immigrant detainees. In addition, he was a key sponsor of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act that established USCIRF and the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.
In May 2000, then Sen. Brownback chaired a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to review the first USCIRF annual report. He described an atmosphere that was more open to a public discussion of religious freedom. He added that he hoped it was not a “cyclical thing, but rather something…on a trajectory toward growth, that we recognize this most fundamental of human rights.”
“We are very pleased that President Trump has made this selection,” added Chairman Mark. “Gov. Brownback understands that religious freedom violations must be sharply highlighted and that progress must be clearly recognized, precisely what USCIRF aims to do in its work. We hope that the Senate confirms his nomination swiftly.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at [email protected] or John D. Lawrence, Director of Communications ([email protected]/+1-202-786-0611).
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