The plight of Iraq’s Jewish group, Syria’s persecuted Christian and Muslim minorities, and Egypt’s beleaguered Christian population has mostly absent unnoticed by the Western entire world and has only sometimes been addressed by the American diplomatic corps (help save onetime hashtag strategies). The appalling circumstance of Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim, a girl married to a U.S. citizen and detained in jail for months for refusing to renounce her religion, has manufactured the Point out Department’s lackluster defense of the rights of conscience internationally all the more apparent.
Nevertheless, last night time, the U.S. Senate took an encouraging phase ahead in the hard work to force the Condition Department to prioritize the liberty of religion in diplomatic endeavours globally. In a unanimous vote, the Senate cleared the Close to East and South Central Asia Religious Independence Act of 2014 (S. 653).
Sponsored by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R), S. 653 aims to skirt the intractable bureaucracy of the State Division and elevate the engagement of religious liberty concerns in the area of the entire world most threatened by assaults towards men and women of religion. S. 653 creates the new submit of “Special Envoy to Advertise Religious Flexibility of Religious Minorities in the Around East and South Central Asia,” a place to be filled by a Presidential appointee with regional knowledge and encounter in the discipline of human legal rights and religious freedom.
Even though a companion invoice (extended championed by Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia) experienced handed the Home of Associates nearly a 12 months back, S. 653 has languished in the Senate. Very last night’s Senate passage marked a breakthrough in negotiations, with the amended Senate invoice now made up of a sunset provision (until reauthorized, the Unique Envoy situation will expire in 2019) to tackle value worries. Now despatched back to the Home, S.653 faces strong potential customers of fast passage presented the massive bi-partisan levels of assist for the Specific Envoy in the Residence previously (H.R. 301 passed by a vote of 402-22 last year).
As total spiritual communities experience extinction in components of the Center East and South Central Asia, the urgency of articulating spiritual independence principles overseas has never ever been starker. A Unique Envoy empowered to communicate on behalf of spiritual minorities going through persecution will give the U.S. greater leverage in advocating for a independence so foundational to all other folks. It is essential that Congress finish consideration of S.653 and that the President indicator this bi-partisan legislation into law.