The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom yesterday called on the Obama Administration to take several steps to promote international religious freedom. From the press release:

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission dedicated to monitoring the universal right to freedom of religion or belief, urges the Obama Administration during its second term to promote religious freedom as both a pivotal human right and a practical necessity.  Religious freedom is a fundamental human right that encompasses other freedoms — including those of expression, association, and assembly.  It serves as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, as it often is the first freedom taken away.  Recent studies have also shown that restrictions on religion are rising worldwide, and with that, an increase in societal hostility and instability. Consequently, religious freedom has real national security relevancy, as conditions supporting religious freedom can help combat the rise of violent religious extremism.

Among the steps the Commission calls for are an executive order on international religious freedom, an interagency working group on international religious freedom at the National Security Council, and training of diplomats and military personnel. The full press release is here.


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