Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad
THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ABROAD
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
2201 C Street, N.W. Room 7802/DRL
Washington, D.C. 20520
Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Don Argue, National Association of Evangelicals
The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, National Council of the Churches of Christ
Dr. Diana L. Eck, Harvard University
Dr. Wilma M. Ellis, Continental Board of Counselors, Baha'is of the Americas
Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg, Jewish Life Network
Dr. James B. Henry, First Baptist Church, Orlando, Florida
Bishop Frederick Calhoun James, African Methodist Episcopal Church
The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church in America
The Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, Monumental Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University
Dr. David Little, U.S. Institute of Peace
Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Muslim Women's League
The Most Rev. Theodore E. McCarrick, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark
Imam Wallace Deen Mohammed, Society of Muslim Americans
Dr. Russell Marion Nelson, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico
Dr. Barnett Richard Rubin, Council on Foreign Relations
Ms. Nina Shea, The Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House
Dr. Elliot Sperling, Indiana University
His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon*, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
*Represented by Mr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Ms. Alexandra Arriaga, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. State Department of State
REPORT CONTENTS PAGE
The United States was founded on the principle of freedom of conscience and belief. This principle, embedded in our Constitution, is now reflected in a growing body of international law that upholds freedoms of thought, expression and religion as inherent and inalienable human rights. The key international documents in this area include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
Protection of the rights contained in these international instruments is a component of U.S. foreign policy. The Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, composed of leaders and scholars of the world's major religious traditions, was established one year ago with the task of advising the Secretary of State on enhancing the protection and promotion of religious freedom abroad.
The Advisory Committee was asked to focus its deliberations on two principal areas: religious persecution and conflict resolution. Persecution and conflict are caused by social, cultural, economic and political factors which defy a one-dimensional approach. The Committee's preliminary findings and recommendations are addressed to various levels of the U.S. Government as well communities of faith, religious leaders, and scholars in the United States and abroad.
During its first year the Committee has heard the testimony of experts, government officials and victims of religious persecution. Committee members have deliberated, presented diverse viewpoints, and learned much from each other. The issues addressed are complex, but the Committee has concluded its first year with a sense of optimism and accomplishment. The Advisory Committee offers this interim report to the Secretary of State and, through her, to the President, with the hope that it will contribute to the formulation of U.S. policies that support religious freedom and reconciliation throughout the world.
II.The Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad
The Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad was established in November 1996 with the strong support of the President. The Charter explicitly lays out the Committee's purpose: "to serve the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in an advisory capacity with respect to significant issues of religious freedom, intolerance, and reconciliation abroad as agreed upon by the Committee and the Department of State." The Committee reports to the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; they, or the Designated Federal Officer, convey the Committee's report to the President. Responsibility for implementing those Committee recommendations that are accepted by the Secretary of State lies with the appropriate U.S. Government officers.
The Advisory Committee has two broad tasks:
to call attention to problems of religious persecution and other violations of religious freedom, and religious intolerance abroad and advise on how to end them; and
to provide information on how to bring about reconciliation in areas of conflict, especially conflicts where religion is a factor, and promote respect for human rights, so that religious freedom can be fully enjoyed.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) provides the guidelines for Advisory Committee meetings, business, and the Committee's renewable two-year term. The Charter is filed at the Library of Congress and appended to this report; other Advisory Committee documents are available through the State Department home page on the Internet (www.state.gov).
The Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad is comprised of twenty distinguished religious leaders and academics, represents a wide spectrum of expertise on religion and human rights, and reflects the diverse perspectives within the American religious community, including Evangelical, Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha'i, and other world religions and beliefs.
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor John Shattuck is Chairman of the Advisory Committee. The Committee's Executive Director is Ms. Alexandra Arriaga.
Administration's Charge to the Committee
The Advisory Committee is intended to facilitate effective partnerships between the U.S. Government and a broad range of religious communities, academic institutions, and advocacy groups to advance religious freedom. The Committee is also a venue for religious organizations and non-governmental organizations interested in religious liberty to engage with the U.S. Government on this issue.
From the outset, the Advisory Committee has received support at the highest levels of the U.S. Government. In January 1997, President Clinton conveyed the importance of religious freedom to several Committee members at a White House prayer breakfast. The First Lady met the Committee members, urging them to be vigilant and ensure that religious freedom receive the crucial focus it deserves when weighed against other foreign policy priorities.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee stressed the importance of the Committee's work both for Americans nationwide and for an essential understanding that the issue of religious freedom belongs in any comprehensive discussion about American foreign policy. The Secretary spoke of the urgency of "doing everything we can in our time to make sure that persecution everywhere is ended, because all of us have suffered from it and there are many more who might and will suffer from it if we do not work together." The Committee Chairman, Assistant Secretary Shattuck, affirmed the concern for all victims of religious persecution, whether Christian, Jew, Baha'i, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or of another faith or belief.
During its first year, the Committee focused on defining specific issues to address eliciting input from a wide range of experts, and preparing this interim report. This work has been carried out at public meetings of the full Committee and in working sessions of two subgroups: 1) the subgroup on religious persecution and discrimination, and 2) the subgroup on the role of religion in conflict resolution. Statements from the Committee's meetings are included in the Appendix. Minutes from Committee meetings and subgroup working sessions are also included in the Appendix.
The Committee and its two subgroups heard presentations from more than forty experts, both non-governmental and governmental, and received additional input, orally and in writing, from many other individuals and groups. Non-governmental experts who met with Committee members included, among others, Dr. Paul Marshall, author of Their Blood Cries Out; Dr. Khaled Abou ElFadl, University of Texas, Austin; Ms. Elisa Massimino, Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights; Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Appeal of Conscience Foundation; Dr. Douglas Johnston, author of Religion: The Missing Dimension of Statecraft; the Dalai Lama of Tibet; Cardinal Cahal Daly from Northern Ireland, and Pastor Robert Fu from China.
The Committee meetings and subgroup working sessions included presentations by various U.S. Government officials. In addition to the Secretary of State and Assistant Secretary Shattuck, Committee members met with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Timothy Wirth, as well as with the Assistant Secretaries from the State Department's regional bureaus, the Office of the Secretary of State, the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Information Agency, the Foreign Service Institute, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the National Security Council.
Committee meetings and subgroup discussions have covered a wide range of issues. Most of the presentations focused on issues that affect the ability of the U.S. Government to integrate effectively religious freedom into its policy making and policy implementation. Considerable attention was given to the adequacy of existing asylum procedures; the training of State Department and other U.S. personnel; the use of U.S. resources devoted to social and cultural exchange, rule of law, and the promotion of tolerance, civil society and respect for human rights; and initiatives to support peace and reconciliation in areas of conflict. While the Committee is not mandated, nor is in a position to, compile systematic and comprehensive reports on violations of religious freedom around the world, several presentations included information on country conditions and testimony about individual cases. The Committee's findings are discussed in the next section of this report.
After each of its public meetings, the Committee issued statements. In its February statement, the Committee "condemn[ed] all forms of religious persecution, as well as the climate of religious intolerance that has led to armed conflict and even genocide" and also recognized "the positive role that religion and religious institutions can play in promoting national reconciliation and peace." The Committee committed itself to providing information and recommendations to the U.S. Government. In its July statement, the Committee stressed the importance of freedom of religion as a fundamental human right and identified the key areas of focus for its work. The complete texts of the statements are included in the Appendix.
III.Scope of the Issues: Committee Discussions, Hearings, and Findings
Freedom of religion is a cornerstone of American democracy. This freedom is a universal human right based on the inherent dignity of every human being. Indeed, the United States was founded in large part by people who fled religious persecution and intolerance. Our founders placed the right to religious liberty in a preeminent place in the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment to the Constitution. The United States has long championed religious liberty and should continue to demonstrate leadership in fostering religious tolerance at home and abroad.
Promoting human rights, including the right to religious freedom, is an ongoing task. Citizens of the United States are conscious of the fact that religious freedom must not be taken for granted, but requires constant attention and reaffirmation. Religious liberty was the aspiration of many who came to these shores as settlers, but history reminds us that broad support for guaranteeing religious freedom equally for all Americans required debate and persistence. The early colonists had divergent views on the subject. Many settlers, while cherishing religious freedom for themselves, did not immediately accord it to others. Other settlers, however, pioneered to secure protection for diverse religions and beliefs. The leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, for example, did not tolerate Quakers and others they considered to be dissenters. At the same time, Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, affirmed religious freedom on principle and set about instituting an innovative form of religious pluralism. As the colonies won independence from Britain, it was with considerable debate and struggle that the controversy over religious freedom was partially resolved with the adoption of the First Amendment to the Constitution which affirms the "free exercise" of religion as a fundamental right and prevents government establishment of religion.
In the nineteenth century, the acquisition of new territory and the arrival of more immigrants further expanded the religious diversity in America and necessitated a renewed affirmation of the commitment to religious freedom. Many Americans voiced their fears that unfettered religious diversity might threaten the foundation of the Republic. Members of what were then unconventional and minority faiths, such as Jews, Catholics, and Mormons, suffered attacks and various attempts to restrict their right to worship. Such hostilities gave way slowly, as the United States, at each juncture, chose to reaffirm the free exercise of religion for people of all religions.
In the twentieth century, the United States has championed the right to religious freedom globally as an advocate of international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. The adoption of this Declaration half a century ago represented a world-wide consensus that human rights are universal and inalienable. This Declaration established a common human rights standard for achievement for all people and all nations. One American in particular, Eleanor Roosevelt, led the initiative which secured the adoption of the Declaration. An estimated half of the countries of the world, including in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, today include principles of the Universal Declaration in their national constitutions.
America has become a truly multi-religious nation, with substantial new communities of American Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Baha'is, Zoroastrians, and practitioners of Afro-Caribbean traditions. The adoption of the Native American Religious Freedom Act in 1978 marks continued progress to expand the scope of religious freedom. The American people are embracing the right to religious freedom for all. Although an estimated eighty-five percent of the American population consider themselves Christian, there is great diversity of religions in the United States. Today there are mosques and Islamic centers in Houston and Toledo, Hindu temples in Nashville and Minneapolis, Sikh gurdwaras in Bridgewater and Oklahoma City. The proliferation of new religious movements has added further richness to the American religious scene and has tested, once again, America's commitment to the free exercise of religious conscience, belief, and practice. It is evident that America's concern for the right to religious freedom globally is borne from the experience of no one religion, but from the accumulated experience of Americans of many different religions who know that denying religious freedom to anyone threatens the freedom of everyone.
As this century comes to a close, we recognize that around the world there have been enormous advances in the demand for human freedom on all fronts, and that there is a greater potential for securing religious freedom in countries where that was not previously possible. Countless people in former totalitarian countries are seeking to take advantage of new opportunities to deepen their spiritual lives, and in every corner of the globe, we see a flowering of religious affiliation and belief of tremendous diversity and creativity. This is the case, despite setbacks in some regions.
On the eve of the twenty-first century, throughout the world aggressive acts of religious intolerance and persecution still occur, along with the exploitation of religious and ethnic differences for ulterior and violent ends. Many people across the globe face persecution, disenfranchisement, economic deprivation and sometimes death for practicing their faith, exercising conscience, and maintaining cultural loyalties.
Despite these difficulties, religious leaders and groups are playing an increasingly significant role in preventing and resolving conflicts, reconciling antagonistic groups, fostering the peaceful evolution of civil society, and promoting human rights. These initiatives have taken a variety of forms, including humanitarian relief efforts, devotional and prayer vigils, mediation, human rights monitoring, civic action, education for intolerance and nonviolence, and the emergence of inter-religious networks on a regional, national, and global basis.
It is impossible to determine with accuracy precisely how many people are denied their rights to religious freedom or are persecuted because of their faith or affiliation. Some things, however, are clear: violations of freedom of religion and belief, including acts of severe persecution, occur with fearful frequency; they cause extensive suffering, instability, and violence; and they represent a serious affront to all of humanity whether they are targeted at one individual or at many.
Framework for Religious Freedom: International Standards
The United States has played an important role around the world in establishing and supporting international human rights law which creates binding legal obligations for governments concerning both freedom of religion and the avoidance of discrimination based on religion. There are several significant international instruments that provide guarantees and protection for freedom of religion and other universal human rights.
The Charter of the United Nations calls on the organization and its Member States to "promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, recognizes in Article 18, that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" as a right stemming from the inherent dignity and equality of every person. It also provides the individual with the "freedom to change his religion or belief" and the "freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teachings, practice, worship and observance."
The Universal Declaration is considered, in some respects, to be a reflection of customary international law and binding on all States. There are, however, a number of widely adopted human rights treaties that clearly obligate State parties to those treaties to respect freedom of religion. The most important and broadly supported human rights treaty protective of religious freedom is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by a majority of United Nations member States, including the United States.
The ICCPR provides a detailed summary of the most basic guarantees for freedom of religion in Article 18, which states:
(1) Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
(2) No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
(3) Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
(4) The State Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
The Universal Declaration and ICCPR also restate the prohibition against discrimination, including on the basis of religion, in terms similar to those in the U.N. Charter and enshrine the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly which complement and reinforce the right to religious freedom. State parties to the ICCPR agree to guarantee the rights, "without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" (Article 2). The ICCPR also provides explicit protection for religious minorities in Article 27: "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their groups, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion or to use their own language." Clearly, under international law States have the obligation to ensure non-discrimination and the protection of religious freedom for minority religions.
Perhaps the most extensive description of religious freedom in an international instrument is contained in the U.N. General Assembly's Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, adopted by consensus in 1981. Although the Declaration is not itself binding on States, it provides important guidelines that were accepted by consensus and in some aspects it reflects established principles of customary international law. This declaration makes clear that religious freedom includes: the right of each individual, alone and in community with others, to worship and assemble; maintain religious institutions; make, acquire and use necessary articles and materials; write, issue and disseminate relevant publications; teach in suitable places; solicit and receive voluntary contributions; train, appoint, elect or designate leaders; observe days of rest and celebration; and establish and maintain communications with others, in each case as religious faith dictates.
It is clear that freedom of religion represents a set of rights agreed to in various international instruments, both binding and non-binding. Enjoyment of other human rights -- such as freedom of expression, association, and assembly - is essential to full enjoyment of religious freedom. It is also evident that the right to freedom of religion is derived from the complex role of faith and belief in human life.
The global nature of this issue is illustrated by the very fact that religious freedom is dealt with in a number of international treaties and covenants. As such, members of the international community cannot dismiss valid criticism of actions and policies that contravene these international instruments as "interference in a country's internal affairs." The universal nature of the issue and the manner in which it has been addressed by the international community essentially define violations of religious freedom and other human rights as concerns of the world community as a whole.
The denial of religious freedom to anyone is therefore a matter of concern for all and an issue that should be raised in international fora and in the course of normal diplomatic contact, both bilateral and multilateral.
Members of the Advisory Committee consider it necessary that there be a broad range of concrete policy options available to the U.S. in order to meet the challenge of promoting the universal human rights necessary to enjoy religious freedom.
Violations of Religious Freedom
Violations of religious freedom occur in many forms around the world. According to the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief: "The expression 'intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief' means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis." (Article 2.2)
The United Nations Human Rights Center has identified the following as among the most common, though certainly not the only, kinds of violations of religious freedom that have come to their attention since 1988:
Physical attacks, including extra-judicial killings, and torture;
Detention, arrest and imprisonment based an individual's adherence to a religion or belief;
Restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to manifest one's belief, including limitations on speaking freely of one's faith and on possessing religious articles;
Limits on the right to believe, such as closure, destruction, or excessive restrictions on the right to construct places of worship, limits on religious publications, and controls on the right to elect or designate one's own religious leaders;
Discrimination against particular religious or belief communities in employment, education, housing, the right to own property, access to credit, etc. -- these may affect one's ability to form or participate in religious organizations, or manifest belief, and may be part of a pattern of ongoing harassment and persecution;
Prohibitions or restrictions on membership in a specific religious community, worship in private or in public, religiously-mandated observances and holy days, and ties with co-religionists; and,
Forced exile and local expulsion of religious believers, which also denies the right to freedom of movement.
In practice, violations of religious freedom are manifest in many different forms - both subtle and overt -- and inflict various degrees of suffering over individuals and communities. There are many underlying causes of the denial of religious freedom. Based on testimony presented to the Advisory Committee, some of the various causes include the following:
Totalitarian or authoritarian ideology that prohibits any opposition to its supreme rule;
Denial of all universal human rights, including religious freedom, for political self-aggrandizement, and refusal of State to recognize universal norms of any higher jurisdiction;
Manipulation of tribal and sectarian xenophobia for aggrandizement of state power;
Failure to deter the destructive impulses of some elements of society toward minority religions, either through physical attack, forcible conversion, or prohibition against manifestations of the minority religion and culture;
State refusal or failure to protect the fundamental rights of minorities, including guarding against non-governmental violence;
Modern politicization of religious authority, tied to a monopoly of force and separated from historic spirituality;
Failure of secularized elites to recognize the role of religious motivation and belief in the lives and morals of people;
Ignorance and lack of understanding of different religious beliefs, lack of dialogue between different faiths, fears of differences, apprehension that unrestrained thought and choices might threaten stability;
The historical legacy of a religion's role in conflicts and pursuit of power leading to the manipulation of the past for present-day political purposes; and
Social tensions, particularly those associated with the arrival of new religions and of foreign and/or immigrant groups with unfamiliar religions, which can lead to the sense that a minority religion is challenging established authorities and dominant religious beliefs.
In practice, violations of religious freedom are generally the result of many different root causes which are manifest by various degrees of intimidation, discrimination, repression, and persecution. Followers of all of the world's major religions -- Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is, and others-are currently discriminated against, harassed, detained, tortured, and killed.
Government actions that discriminate against certain faith communities, even actions taken allegedly to "protect" society, in fact can seriously threaten members of the faith group and impede their ability to worship. In 1997, the Russian government adopted a discriminatory religion law that denies legal rights depending on how long a religion has had a presence in Russia. The law was adopted despite strong international outcry. Since its adoption there have been increasing reports of efforts by local officials to restrict activities of religious minorities.
Several European countries, including Belgium, France, and Germany, have recently established commissions of inquiry on sects, partly in response to fears of violent cults, such as Aum Shinrikyo from Japan. Unless these commissions focus their work on investigating illegal acts, they run the risk of denying individuals the right to freedom of religion or belief. In Germany, members of the Church of Scientology and of a Christian charismatic church have been subject to intense scrutiny by the Enquette Commission there, and several members have suffered harassment, discrimination, and threats of violence.
Severe and sustained discriminatory practices, combined with prohibitions on membership in a specific group, have had devastating effects on some faith communities, such as the Baha'is in Iran. The government in Iran has instituted policies designed to eliminate the Baha'i faith, by denying Baha'is the right to assemble and elect their religious officials; confiscating Baha'i property, including cemeteries and other holy sites; preventing their employment and access to higher education; prohibiting the right to teach and study their religion; and withholding from them civil and legal rights. More than 200 Baha'is have been killed in Iran since 1979, and, in 1997, fourteen Baha'is were imprisoned for their religious belief, four of them sentenced to death. The climate of intimidation in Iran has also severely and comparably affected certain Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian communities, whose members have been victims of harassment, persecution, and extra-judicial killing.
In societies where the government imposes strict political ideology and control over the populace, including on religious matters, many individuals and communities of faith operate "underground" and risk harassment, detention, and imprisonment. In communist countries such as China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam, the governments permit limited freedom to worship in accordance with official guidelines and controls. Most independent religious activities are either prohibited or severely restricted. In Vietnam, Buddhists and Christians who act independently of the officially approved temple and church, are subject to arrest and harassment. In China, members of the government-registered religious institutions practice their faith within the strictures of the government. Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uighurs, unregistered Protestants and Roman Catholics are subjected to widespread harassment, detentions, incarceration, and persecution. When the Dalai Lama designated the Tibetan Buddhist Panchen Lama, the Chinese government reacted by detaining the eight year-old boy and refusing to provide access to him. In Cuba, while worship is generally unrestricted, religious groups are limited in other activities.
At the same time, the imposition of one ideology -- whether secular or religious -- denies freedom of religion and belief to many and can lead to life threatening conditions. The government of North Korea strongly discourages religious activities, unless it serves its purpose. There is a government-sponsored church that is reported to be open only when foreign visitors seek to visit. Despite the repression and general absence of ordained clergy in the country, there seem to be a growing number of "house churches" in North Korea. On the other hand, in Afghanistan individuals are denied the right to choose not to practice a religion. The Taliban has imposed a controversial interpretation of Islam that mandates mosque attendance for men; denies women education, employment, and freedom of movement; and forces women to wear chadori (an all-encompassing head-to-toe garb which has a mesh screen for vision) outside their homes. In Saudi Arabia, where the State religion is Islam and the government is Sunni Muslim, freedom of religion is denied all other religions, including other forms of Islam, such as Shi'a Islam. Persecution also occurs within the same religion, pitting one group or faction against another of the same religion.
Religious and ethnic nationalism, whether led by governments or rebel groups, can give rise to various acts of religiously motivated violence, including religious persecution. Minority religions are particularly vulnerable and face state persecution, communal violence, or terrorist attacks. The persecution of Christians under such conditions is a worldwide modern problem that only recently has begun to receive adequate attention and reporting. In Pakistan, the government passed a "Blasphemy Law," which has been applied against Christians and Ahmaddiya Muslims and carries a death penalty for acts considered to defame the Prophet. In Burma, the military junta is conducting a long running civil war with the Karen ethnic minority group who are mostly Christian and Muslim. Burma's junta has also encouraged widespread violence and discrimination against Rohingya Muslims, forcing tens of thousands to flee the country.
In the former Yugoslavia, persecution or abuse of people because of their religious membership or affiliation was unquestionably a fundamental instrument of repression wielded by cynical leaders bent on enhancing their own power and position. During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, rape was used as a systematic weapon of war against countless Muslim women in Bosnia; many Catholics killed in Croatia were found with crosses emblazoned on their foreheads; numerous clergy were killed; and Mosques and churches were destroyed. In Sudan, the on-going civil war has fueled a pattern of extensive human rights violations, including religious persecution against animists, Christians, and those Muslims who deviate from the government's interpretation of Islam. Sudanese citizens are mistreated, tortured, enslaved, and killed in part because of their religious faith, but also because of their race, culture, and location within war zones.
No single policy or set of policies can defeat intolerance, discrimination, persecution, and the many forms of violations in one stroke. Identifying the general patterns, nonetheless, is an essential first step and a prerequisite to understanding the issues of religious freedom that confront the world today.
Discrimination against individuals and groups based on their religion occurs within a particular historical, social and cultural context that can inform on a case-by-case basis how it should be addressed. We are aware that the political, social and historical complexities out of which violations arise cannot be ignored if policies are to respond effectively. While these factors must be taken into account, they are not to be used as an excuse for denying freedom of religion and other universal human rights. The response to religious discrimination, intolerance, and persecution must be expressed clearly and designed to influence the governments and perpetrators of violations and to produce results.
Religious persecution is often an indicator that other fundamental and internationally recognized human rights are also at risk. Violations of religious freedom often signal other human rights violations. Religious persecution creates a climate of fear and intolerance, gives license to authoritarianism, embitters and sometimes radicalizes persecuted groups, encourages irredentist tendencies among religious minorities and majorities who fear the violation of their rights by others, and foments instability.
The above examples and causes of persecution are not meant to be comprehensive and only offer a brief guide for addressing violations of religious freedom and the problems of persecution in its various manifestations.
Conflicts Involving Religion
Religion is clearly a powerful force in all human affairs, including political conflict and international relations. People find in religion a code of conduct, a sense of meaning, and personal or collective identity. Religious institutions provide far more than opportunities for worship: they provide leadership, education, political legitimacy, and systems of law and adjudication. The relation among these functions differs in different religions and even within the same religion in different social or historical contexts.
In most political conflicts involving religion, faith is only one of several factors involved, and it may not be the principal one. External observers should not focus on the religious aspects of a conflict to the exclusion of national identity, political power, or the role of economic factors in fueling discord. To do so may play into the hands of those who would sacralize secular struggles in order to mobilize support for self-interested positions and to thwart compromise. In Northern Ireland or Bosnia-Herzegovina, for instance, religious affiliation serves as a marker separating political and ethnic communities.
At the same time, it is important not to minimize the religious aspects of conflict situations, or, in some cases, the potential for religion to play a role in resolving conflict. In both Bosnia and Northern Ireland, some actors genuinely believe that violent pursuit of ethnic or national interests is required to defend their faith, while others mobilize faith to cross barriers and promote reconciliation.
The multiplicity of roles of religion -- even the same religion in the same conflict -- illustrates that religion itself is rarely a political actor in conflict situations. Although many political and religious leaders have mobilized beliefs for political ends, aims, and means, the religions themselves cannot be faulted for the conflicts that have resulted.
A partial list of some of the many different kinds of conflicts in which religion is a factor, would include:
Communal conflict among different religious communities, or political movements within those communities. In such cases religion is one among several important factors. In India, Hindu nationalists attacked Muslim shrines, in a campaign partly motivated by the electoral struggle of the Hindu nationalist party against its political competitors, mostly Hindus themselves. In Indonesia, during the 1997 elections, Muslim youth burned and destroyed several ethnic Chinese Christian churches at the apparent encouragement of political opposition leaders.
Ethnic or nationalist conflict among groups whose identities are at least partly defined by adherence to (with or without practice of) a common religion. Familiar examples include the Bosnian, Northern Ireland, and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
Repression of minority religious groups that are treated or labeled "foreign," accused of "foreign influence," or "foreign allegiances."
Conflict between the state and religious-national groups over state structure, independence, autonomy, or the legal system, in which the religious identity of one or both sides is part of the reason for the conflict. Often this involves state attempts to impose an ideology. Examples include the conflict between the Chinese state and the Tibetan Buddhists, or conflicts between the Sudanese Islamic state located in the north and the Christians, animists and moderate Muslims who reside mostly in the south.
Political conflict between a state and a religious movement. In some countries, religious political movements and parties are becoming more involved in the political process. Government resistance coupled with extremist views among some Muslim groups contribute to conflicts in places like Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey. There are also signs of this trend in Uganda where The Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel force which is funded by the Sudanese government and claims to be a Christian rebel force, is fighting the central government, and elsewhere.
Conflict Resolution Involving Religion
The involvement of religion in conflict resolution is at least as varied as the involvement of religion in conflict. The best known and most straightforward form is collaboration among religious leaders to oppose violence and build bridges of communication between or among the antagonists in a communal or ethno-nationalist conflict.
But religious leaders and institutions have other conflict resolution roles as well. During periods of political turmoil they can offer institutional space to democratic forces and act as mediators with some governments. The Protestant Church in East Germany played such a role before German reunification. Religious organizations are often the strongest elements of civil society. In several civil wars they provided havens for human rights monitors and proved essential in concluding peace treaties and rebuilding society. The Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, and the National Council of Churches, as well as other religious organizations have played such a role in El Salvador, Liberia, Guatemala, Mozambique and elsewhere.
Religious mediators can play important roles in conflicts in which they are not directly involved. "Peace churches" - e.g., the Society of Friends, the Mennonites, etc. -- have a long history of such activity, as do religious non-governmental organizations such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Their lack of special interest and evident sincerity often makes them particularly trusted interlocutors who can attempt mediation among parties who distrust each other. Churches and other religious organizations have an important role in providing space where parties to a conflict can be heard in a pastoral setting. Such religious listening can be a key factor in conflict resolution.
The Community of St. Egidio in many ways exemplifies this role. A Catholic lay organization based in Rome, the Community has played the role of mediator or convener in several conflicts, including Mozambique, Algeria, Kosovo, Burundi, and Guatemala. In Burundi, the common Catholicism of the parties helped to bring both to St. Egidio. The Algerian Islamic and secular opposition, however, which developed a common platform for negotiation with the military government under the Community's sponsorship, came from an entirely different tradition. In this case the Community's links to Algerian Catholics, combined with its complete neutrality, enabled the organization to be a useful interlocutor.
Many other initiatives by religious leaders have contributed to the reduction of conflict and early steps toward reconciliation. For example, a powerful message for unity was conveyed with the creation in June 1997 of a permanent Inter-Religious Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina by the country's leaders of four religious communities: Mustafa Ceric, Raisu-l-ulama (Supreme Head) of the Islamic Community; Cardinal Vinko Pulic, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the Bishop's Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Metropolit Dabro-Bosnian Nikolaj Mrdja of the Serbian Orthodox Church; and Jakob Finci, President of the Jewish Community. The four leaders issued a joint statement that affirmed the common values among the religions, urged individuals to recognize the fundamental rights of each person, and to take responsibility for their acts. They also pledged to carry out specific initiatives to reinforce the message.
In the violent confrontations in the Caucasus the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and the Armenian Supreme Catholicos have worked with Muslim religious leaders of Chechnya and Azerbaijan to promote peaceful resolution of the conflict in Chechnya and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Ngorno-Karabakh.
The Appeal of Conscience Foundation has hosted meetings for leaders of different religions to address conflicts and human rights crises in many parts of the world. The Foundation also promotes dialogue between religious communities and government through conferences, and brings religious leaders to speak at training sessions for U.S. Government foreign service officers about religious freedom issues. Another type of equally valuable exercise in dialogue is conducted by the Center for Jewish and Christian Values and by the Institute for Religious Values, which bring together American leaders of different religions and political parties to discuss concerns about religious persecution.
The role of ecumenism and interfaith dialogue in conflict resolution needs to be documented. Ecumenism usually refers to the growing development of relationships among the Christian churches throughout the world. There are many worldwide structures of Christian ecumenism, such as national and regional councils of churches, and the World Council of Churches, which includes more than 300 Protestant and Orthodox churches and the World Evangelical Fellowship with 111 national and regional associations, representing some 600,000 local churches worldwide. Such ecumenical organizations have been able to bring considerable influence to bear on difficult situations, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa and the conflict in the Balkans. Religious organizations have taken public stands against violence by promoting human rights and initiating common programs for peace, such as in Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Northern Ireland, and Vietnam.
Interfaith dialogue -- the development of bilateral and multilateral relations between and among religious traditions -- also holds great promise for both conflict prevention and resolution. In multi-religious nations and regions, trust-building between people of different religious and/or ethnic communities is essential. In places where victims in one era become aggressors in the next, seeking forms of justice that are restorative rather than retributive can be essential to transform the dynamic of inter-religious relationships from perpetual antagonism to partnership.
Another approach involves local problem-solving, drawing "lessons from the grassroots." International networks lend their support to fragile local initiatives that promote multi-religious cooperation. The World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Fellowship are perhaps the largest organization facilitating projects of this type. Newly founded inter-religious councils in Bosnia and Sierra Leone are examples of local, highly significant efforts that have been quietly and skillfully supported in their formation by an international inter-religious infrastructure.
A growing Christian-Muslim human rights dialogue in the United States, involving a network of some thirty scholars and religious leaders, is building on common ground for addressing human rights concerns. Rather than confining advocacy for human rights to solidarity with one's own religious community, such efforts cultivate a new approach to human rights advocacy.
The U.S. Department of State and the Agency for International Development (AID) are increasingly aware of the role of religious groups in conflict resolution. In some cases, the U.S. can give direct assistance to these efforts, though care must be taken to make certain that such assistance neither compromises the independence of the initiative. Under U.S. law, aid can be given to religious bodies provided it is used on a non-discriminatory basis in the furtherance of a legitimate, secular purpose, whether caring for the sick or resolving conflicts.
Responsibility for Upholding and Promoting Religious Freedom and other Human Rights
Human rights are for all human beings. They are "inherent" and "inalienable" for "all members of the human family," to use the language of international law. No state may annul them, nor do human rights depend upon states for their ultimate validity.
States have pledged themselves, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights puts it, "to achieve . . . the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms." The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations. Those States that have ratified human rights treaties have undertaken special legal responsibilities in regard to human rights protection.
But human rights impose broad obligations and responsibilities. Since they have been universally defined as a birthright of each and every human being, no one is exempt from acting consistent with them, just as no one is disallowed from laying claim to them. To understand the idea of human rights properly is to acknowledge the responsibility of every human being, acting individually or in concert, voluntarily and conscientiously to promote respect for and observance of human rights in all arenas of life. Therefore, human rights matters should involve not only governments, but also religious and business leaders, civic and non-governmental activists, as well as citizens in general.
The overall human rights climate depends in large part on just laws and dedicated governments. Governments in many parts of the world continue to persecute religious groups and individuals. In some instances, the religious persecution is due to governments that do not tolerate independent thought, belief systems, or freedom of association. In other instances, political leaders have exploited religious and ethnic differences for self-serving and sometimes violent political ends. At times, political rhetoric and manipulation have exacerbated disputes between members of different religions or factions within the same religion.
It is also increasingly clear that a dynamic civil society is an essential element for the comprehensive enjoyment of human rights. Societies which enjoy a healthy proliferation of organizations that are non-governmental, private, voluntary, and independent in character, including groups dedicated to human rights monitoring, have a stronger chance of living up satisfactorily to international human rights standards.
Governments have the task of protecting and promoting human rights, but religious and other non-governmental communities can contribute both to promoting and expanding observance of and respect for human rights in general.
Full realization of specific human rights, such as the right to religious freedom, requires government action. But the assistance of religious and civic organizations, among others, is needed. While human rights violations are often codified as criminal acts and subject to legal prosecution, respect for human rights also requires persuasion and education, and the promotion of human rights demands means and techniques that supplement the law.
U.S. Government Policy Objectives
As our preliminary interim recommendations outline in detail, policies to promote religious freedom can be implemented at all levels, in Washington, at U.S. Embassies abroad, and by U.S. delegations to multilateral organizations.
The key objectives of these policies are to facilitate the exercise of religious freedom to end or help ease the suffering of victims of persecution, and to promote the resolution of conflict involving religion. Concretely helping the victims of persecution must be a focal point of all policy.
Policies to facilitate the exercise of religious freedom should simultaneously focus on communicating strong U.S. disapproval of religious persecution and promoting a broad international coalition of nations committed to the realization of religious freedom as an inseparable element of universal human rights. The aim of U.S. foreign policy in this area should be to influence governments, with both positive and negative inducements and through public and private diplomacy, to live up to international standards of religious freedom. Policy should also seek to strengthen local civil society and encourage the private sector to take a robust interest in religious freedom.
Governmental and non-governmental policies aimed at protecting and expanding religious freedom are governed by four general guidelines.
First, religious freedom is a universal human right. It deserves attention in its own right, and not simply as an adjunct to political issues.
Second, policy makers should strive for effective, results-oriented policies. The crucial and overriding imperative of any effective human rights policy is that it actually benefit the people it is designed to help. Sometimes when the desired results are infeasible, however, it may still be important to implement policies that symbolically convey U.S. support for religious freedom. In some cases where the persecution or offending practice is so heinous or noxious, the United States may not have a policy option that would be effective in eradicating the violations. In such cases, the U.S. Government should take a stand that signals disapproval and non-complicity in the persecution. In many cases, the results of a particular policy will not become apparent for months or even years after it has been implemented.
Third, the reactions and concerns of the local victims who are meant to be assisted by proposed policies should be fully understood and taken into account. This is especially relevant when the policies under consideration are negative measures, such as significant trade sanctions or embargoes. It is desirable to seek and give weight to the views of minority and independent religious groups and individuals who maybe impacted by policies, as a balance to the views of members of majority groups, and of government-controlled, government-sanctioned, or government-supported groups. One of the strengths of the international sanctions policy against apartheid in South Africa was the widespread support it engendered among the very South Africans who stood to suffer most, at least in the short run, from the effects of the implementation of the sanctions. Co-religionists and other knowledgeable contacts both inside and outside an area can often be helpful in conveying local reactions and should be engaged.
Fourth, religious freedom is often best protected in the context of a broad range of human rights objectives. In order to protect and promote religious freedom, effective solutions must sometimes address broader conditions, especially in conflict situations. For example, a comprehensive peace settlement to the civil war in Sudan would likely put an end to the widespread pattern of violence and gross human rights violations there, including religious persecution, and could allow relief agencies greater access to currently restricted areas where there are reports of large scale human suffering. A similar assessment may be made of the war in Bosnia and of the peace settlement that is now haltingly being implemented there. The best chance for ending religious persecution in Bosnia is a comprehensive peace settlement that guarantees the observance of human rights, including protection of religious freedom and nondiscrimination. In this context, it follows that policies aimed at promoting religious freedom must also be judged by their contribution to the implementation of a comprehensive peace and the creation of a stable environment respectful of all human rights.
A wide variety of foreign policy tools can be applied to promote religious freedom. In some cases, incentives can induce governments to modify their behavior. Incentives can be as simple as diplomatic engagement or high-level visits, or as complex as the provision of foreign assistance, trade and investment. Such inducements should be offered if there is reason to believe that they will bring about changes in a government's behavior.
Negative inducements, or sanctions, are also an important foreign policy tool, although the Committee has not yet had in-depth discussions on the use of sanctions to combat religious persecution. The term "sanctions" refers to a broad range of policies, including denial of most-favored-nation status, trade embargoes, bans on military assistance, prohibitions of direct investments, denials of visas to certain officials, suspension or termination of membership in international organizations or international financial institutions, limits on aid, limits on transfer of certain technology, and others. Because the term is so broad, it is not useful to make generalizations, favorable or unfavorable, about sanctions. This complex topic will receive more attention from the Committee in the coming year.
Many different kinds of policy tools are used to promote international standards of religious freedom and other human rights, and to bring about a peaceful resolution of conflicts. The Advisory Committee is examining these topics with the intention of addressing them in more detail in its final report. In the meantime it offers the following preliminary recommendations.
In making its preliminary recommendations, the Advisory Committee has focused on reviewing current U.S. Government efforts and finding ways to make them more effective; and identifying new approaches through which the U.S. Government can advance religious freedom and oppose religious persecution.
The Committee has received detailed information from the U.S. Government on its current activities to address issues of religious freedom. We have included this information in the discussion below to set the context for Committee recommendation.
The U.S. Government has demonstrated a commitment to advocate more vigorously for religious freedom and integrate the issue into mainstream policy considerations. We have included recommendations in some areas in which the U.S. Government's current actions or policies are consistent with our proposals. The purpose of their inclusion is to indicate that more needs to be done or that existing policies need to be integrated and strengthened, as well as to provide a comprehensive package of the various areas where action is necessary to ensure an overall, cohesive and effective policy. It is clear that there are many areas where current policies and practices can be strengthened and improved to achieve the goals of ending religious persecution and promoting respect for religious freedom and other universal human rights principles.
The following recommendations reflect the Advisory Committee's preliminary findings and represent some of the areas on which the Committee will continue to focus in greater detail over the coming year. The Committee intends to build and expand on the recommendations offered in this Interim Report for a more comprehensive assessment and set of recommendations in its final report next year.
Current U.S. Policies: The Clinton Administration has undertaken several initiatives to highlight issues of religious freedom and the role of religion in resolving conflict and promoting human rights. The establishment of the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad is one indication of U.S. Government recognition that more can and should be done to address the issue.
The President has publicly affirmed his commitment to advancing religious freedom as a U.S. foreign policy priority and as an issue of concern to the Administration and the American people. The President has raised the issue directly with leaders of other governments. For example, President Clinton has expressed to Russian President Boris Yeltsin the U.S. concern about legislation to curtail religious liberty in Russia.
The President has hosted a wide variety of meetings attended by representatives of diverse religions, including leaders from Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, and other faiths. The President has met with the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and other eminent religious leaders from around the world to discuss critical issues affecting religious communities and U.S. diplomatic efforts to advance religious freedom. During his travels abroad, the President has also visited leading religious figures.
Under the President's leadership, the U.S. Government has undertaken diplomatic initiatives in conflicts with a religious dimension, working to promote peace processes in the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East. The First Lady inaugurated an inter-faith humanitarian initiative in Bosnia in 1996 and has raised issues of religious freedom and conflict resolution during her travels.
The President has annually issued proclamations designating January 16 as Religious Freedom Day, as a means of celebrating the diversity of spiritual beliefs that flourish in the United States and underscoring America's commitment to religious freedom.
The President should deliver a major address explaining the importance of religious freedom at home and abroad.
The President should give greater weight and enhanced importance to religious freedom among the issues for consideration in foreign policy decision-making.
The President should take every opportunity to raise specific concerns about religious freedom in meetings with foreign leaders.
The President should stress and highlight, in our bilateral and multilateral international relations, the increased importance which U.S. foreign policy accords issues of religious freedom.
The President should instruct the heads of U.S. Government agencies to support and reinforce U.S. policies to promote religious freedom and agencies of the U.S. Government should give appropriate priority to this concern.
The President should encourage greater dialogue on issues of religious freedom among a broad spectrum of Americans to encourage understanding, tolerance, and activities to end violations of religious freedom.
The President should direct additional U.S. funds towards U.S. Government programs, offices, and bureaus with oversight on human rights issues, including religious freedom, in order to enhance work on and consideration of these issues.
The Department of State
Current U.S. Policies:In recent years, the State Department has instituted several initiatives which can be further developed to promote religious freedom and combat religious persecution. Secretary Albright, in one of her first statements after taking office, announced clearly and publicly that religious freedom must be treated as a foreign policy priority. Through a series of world-wide cables, Secretaries Christopher and Albright instructed all U.S. diplomatic posts to give greater attention to religious freedom both in their reporting and in their advocacy, emphasizing the need for State Department employees and foreign governments alike to treat religious liberty as a priority in U.S. foreign policy.
The creation of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad introduces an important new opportunity for partnership towards dialogue, information gathering, and parallel action by government and religious institutions in addressing persecution, and promoting conflict resolution and respect for human rights.
The State Department currently provides extensive, comprehensive reports on religious freedom and persecution. The Spokesmen for both the State Department and White House have begun to issue more frequent public statements condemning specific acts and policies of persecution in various parts of the world. Religious persecution has also been the topic of reports and editorials on the Voice of America and other U.S. Government broadcasting organs, which have focused on China, Tibet, Burma, Sudan, Iran, and Vietnam, among other places where persecution has occurred.
Despite a positive trend and several constructive new initiatives, however, the State Department and U.S. Embassies often approach religious freedom issues in an ad hoc and reactive manner. Responses to particular problems have often been shaped by factors such as congressional or media interest, U.S. Ambassadors' attitudes on intervention in human rights cases, and Embassy staffing levels. The result is an approach that varies somewhat from case to case and country to country. This pattern is attributable, in part, to lingering institutional uncertainty in the State Department about the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy and about the relative importance of religious freedom when weighed against other foreign policy priorities.
The Secretary of State should build on her current initiatives to reflect the importance of this issue by dedicating more resources to focus on integrating policies that promote religious freedom, coordinating actions among bureaus and agencies, and implementing the policies that advance religious freedom, including the recommendations of the Advisory Committee that are accepted by the Secretary of State. For example, the Secretary of State should dedicate for this purpose a high-level position, support staff, and an office at the State Department, in an appropriate bureau, such as the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor or another relevant bureau.
The Advisory Committee should meet on a semi-annual basis with the Under Secretaries of State for Political Affairs, Global Affairs, Economic Affairs, and others, and with appropriate Assistant Secretaries, including those from regional bureaus, to review religious freedom issues and take stock of U.S. diplomatic efforts.
The State Department should incorporate religious freedom concerns into all appropriate high-level meetings and visits.
The State Department should instruct embassies to raise routinely through diplomatic channels cases of imprisoned religious believers and other individual cases where religious freedom is violated.
The State Department's Spokesperson and other officials should speak out forcefully and frequently on instances of religious persecution and when religious freedom is violated.
The State Department and other relevant U.S. Government agencies should pay special attention to the status of religious freedom as a human rights concern when considering arms sales, military assistance, or economic aid. To the greatest extent possible, the U.S. Government should also be in consultation with U.S. and foreign religious communities before deciding on policies that will effect religious communities abroad.
The Secretary of State should instruct all Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries to ensure that foreign affairs officers receive human rights training by attending courses, including enhanced training on religious freedom offered at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC).
The annual evaluation of State Department officers should include an evaluation of their understanding of the status of human rights in their region, especially on religious freedom, their advocacy on religious freedom and other human rights with foreign governments, and their engagement with local religious and belief communities, as well as with local human rights groups.
Current U.S. Policies:U.S. Embassies include the promotion of human rights in their missions. In almost every country of the world, the U.S. Embassy is comparatively the most active member of the local diplomatic community on issues of human rights and religious freedom. U.S. Embassy officials at all levels are instructed to and regularly raise concerns about limitations on or violations of religious freedom in meetings with foreign leaders and their representatives. In addition, the State Department and U.S. Embassies in many parts of the world have begun to engage in dialogue with religious leaders and advocates of religious freedom.
Nevertheless, human rights and religious freedom issues compete for attention among other important foreign policy priorities determined at Embassies. It is essential that the Foreign Service attach as great importance to global issues such as human rights, as it does to commercial promotion and political and military affairs. Especially in countries with poor human rights records, the human rights issues are a consistent part of the dialogue between Ambassadors, and other top level Embassy personnel, and officials of the host government. However, human rights advocacy is also viewed by some U.S. officials as an impediment to good relations with foreign governments, rather than as the promotion of a core U.S. interest.
Primary responsibility for maintaining contact with human rights organizations and for drafting the annual human rights report is generally assigned to junior political officers. It is important that senior Embassy officers devote as much time and energy to establishing contacts in the human rights and religious communities as they do to building relationships with local officials and business leaders. In addition, reduced staffing, in part determined by congressional appropriations, has sometimes impeded the capacity of Embassies to advocate on behalf of human rights and religious freedom.
The Committee understands that the U.S. has multiple foreign policy goals, and that these goals must be carefully balanced and pursued. Human rights advocacy calls for the highest standards of diplomatic professionalism. Human rights advocacy should not be hesitant and cautious, although such advocacy, to be effective, must sometimes be conducted in a low-key manner and behind the scenes. The Committee believes that routine diplomatic practice must incorporate and act with the understanding that human rights, including religious freedom, are core American values and universal principles that require treatment as priority U.S. interests.
U.S. Embassies should assign priority importance to investigating, monitoring, and reporting on issues of religious freedom. They should seek information from local and international religious groups and other non-governmental organizations that monitor religious freedom and other human rights conditions.
Adequate staffing should be assigned to Embassies in the countries where religious persecution is an issue.
The promotion and protection of religious freedom should be integrated into all Embassy annual mission program plans, wherever religious freedom is an issue.
Issues of religious freedom should be included in ongoing diplomatic communications with host governments.
U.S. Embassy staff should seek meetings with imprisoned religious leaders and dissidents, as well as access to prisons.
U.S. Embassy staff should regularly intervene on behalf of victims of religious persecution and raise their cases directly and firmly with the host government.
U.S. Embassy personnel should maintain dialogue and outreach with religious leaders, religious groups, and experts on local religious life. They should contact members of majority and minority religious communities, including both government-sponsored and unregistered groups.
U.S. Embassy personnel should be alert to and distinguish the different treatment accorded to groups within the same religion, and should reflect these distinctions in their reporting and policy.
U.S. Embassies should coordinate with local, international, and American non-governmental organizations, particularly those that focus on promoting religious freedom, to facilitate their human rights and humanitarian activities and support their access to difficult regions.
When determining the allocation of program funds, U.S. Embassies should allocate funds for non-governmental projects that promote religious freedom, such as programs that protect human rights, facilitate reconciliation, and strengthen the rule of law and civil society. Embassies should also support initiatives to integrate fully religious freedom as a central element of existing programs.
U.S. Embassies should press host governments to accord independent human rights monitoring groups full and unimpeded access to regions throughout the country.
U.S. Ambassadors should be personally involved in and review their Embassy's human rights reports.
Current U.S. Policies:The State Department has taken steps to increase reporting on religious freedom and persecution. Every year, the State Department produces the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices which provides human rights information on 194 countries and territories and includes specific sections on government adherence to religious freedom and on societal tolerance of religious freedom. The sections on religious liberty have been broadened to include greater detail on religious persecution, incorporating information gathered from a variety of credible sources, including religious groups, non-governmental organizations and other reliable groups.
In addition, the State Department in 1997 issued a report on U.S. Policies in Support of Religious Freedom: Focus on Christians. The report details recent U.S. Government actions taken on behalf of persecuted Christians and followers of other faiths around the world and provides information on religious persecution, with a focus on the situation for Christians.
Although the State Department reports are an excellent resource for information on human rights conditions worldwide, the quality of the reports varies from country to country, and from section to section, often depending on the adequacy of the embassy's underlying research and staff work.
Embassy reporting of human rights conditions depends in part on staffing levels, the competence of reporting officers (who are often junior officers), and the relative importance attached to human rights issues by the Ambassador and the concerned regional bureau. Generally, reporting on human rights issues occurs in a timely fashion, facilitating Washington's assessment of the situation in a country. Some reporting, however, is based primarily on news of incidents, and may be unconfirmed or incomplete. Moreover, reporting is sometimes tardy, with the result that it is not uncommon for Washington officials to first learn of human rights abuses from NGOs, including religious groups. There are also important limitations and difficulties in gathering information and verifying reports of persecution in countries where the U.S. Government has no diplomatic presence.
Expand the reporting of religious freedom in the State Department's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, by providing more information about the treatment of specific religious and belief groups, including minority subsets of a religion. On occasion, reporting overlooks the treatment of religious freedoms towards minority subsets of a religion, basing the assessment on the experience of the majority within that religion.
The State Department should continue to encourage thorough and timely reporting by Embassy personnel on issues of religious freedom.
The U.S. Government should encourage the Foreign Broadcast Information Service of USIA and other US Government sources of public reporting to make better use of public information, including the Internet and reports by local and international religious and other non-governmental organizations, as resources for information to include in their report publications.
The State Department should encourage interagency cooperation and sharing of information on human rights reporting, to facilitate more extensive bases of information and greater integration of human rights concerns in policy considerations at other agencies.
The State Department should include reporting on religious freedom as a criterion for performance awards to U.S. personnel for their reporting on human rights issues, as a further incentive for providing thorough coverage of these issues.
National Foreign Affairs Training Center:
Current U.S. Policies:Human rights training is provided at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC). The subject is included in general courses at NFATC, although it is not consistently given sufficient prominence. When the Institute has offered courses devoted specifically to human rights, these have sometimes been canceled because of a lack of interest or attendance resulting from a failure to promote the courses among foreign affairs government employees.
As a result, there are political officers who are unfamiliar with the basics of international human rights law and the operations of international human rights organizations. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), for example, has a majority of countries as State Parties and contains strong binding rules on religious freedom. Yet many political officers - including junior officers responsible for covering human rights at embassies - are unfamiliar with the provisions or even the existence of the ICCPR and other key human rights standard setting documents. Ignorance of international law can place political officers at a disadvantage when foreign officials respond to a human rights query by our Embassy with the claim that human rights are an internal affair.
The NFATC designs and offers courses in response to the priorities set by the Secretary of State, Under Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries. Foreign affairs officers are asked to follow and be active on many competing foreign policy issues, and human rights is generally treated as just one more issue among many. It is the responsibility of the State Department leadership to set the priorities for officers.
All participants in area studies courses at NFATC should receive substantial information, including through materials and training on religious freedom and other human rights issues. Information and relevant courses should include training on principles of religious freedom, as well as the religious history and religious traditions of particular regions.
Training in international affairs and for particular regions should include relevant background on pertinent religions.
Political trade-craft courses, as well as courses for Ambassadors and Deputy Chiefs of Mission, should include basic material on international human rights law and the operations of international human rights organizations such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Human rights training should be provided in the course-load of all U.S. Government officers who will have overseas assignments which include responsibility for human rights issues. Courses should be offered several times during the year. A good model is the NFATC's commercial promotion course.
Criteria to evaluate and promote foreign affairs officers should include understanding of religious freedom and human rights issues, attendance at training courses on these topics, and actions to report on and advocate religious freedom and to assist individuals whose rights have been violated.
Asylum & Refugee Assistance
Current U.S. Policies: The Administration has indicated that the State Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) should give more attention to religious persecution and the growing numbers of claims resulting from it, and is committed to improving and strengthening measures and provisions necessary to achieving this goal. Inadequate training and/or insensitivity to the nature of the claim can result in the disregard or the dismissal of claims based on religious persecution and on other human rights violations.
In this context, the State Department and the INS are working to insure that the issue of religious persecution is taken into account in the various asylum adjudication processes. Efforts are underway to update and strengthen the information used by asylum adjudicators to determine the human rights conditions in foreign countries and to provide them with current information on religious persecution. Most of the country condition reports prepared by the State Department's Office of Asylum Affairs have been brought up to date and strengthened, although this has been a problem in the past.
A new "summary exclusion" provision prevents individuals who arrive in the U.S without proper documents from applying for asylum without first establishing a credible fear of persecution. It is crucial that INS and the State Department be well-informed, attentive, and sensitive to situations of religious persecution and other human rights violations. Otherwise, there is a strong possibility that individuals who are unable to demonstrate immediately that they have a "credible fear" of persecution, when in fact they do, could be wrongly deported and returned to the hands of their persecutors. Generally, there are insufficient safeguards in the current asylum procedures to prevent the mistaken return of persons who are too fearful, confused, or unfamiliar with procedures to make a clear and accurate claim.
Training of INS and State Department personnel should include courses that promote sensitivity to religious persecution and other human rights issues and provide up-to-date information on these subjects.
The NFATC and its counterpart in INS should introduce training on religious persecution, including country-specific conditions, and the handling of such cases and claimants, including guidance on interview techniques to readily identify individuals suffering the trauma of religious persecution. Successful completion of a mandatory training course in this subject for all State Department and INS personnel associated with asylum or refugee processes could significantly increase the level of sensitivity to religious persecution.
Refugee and human rights non-governmental organizations should be incorporated into the training programs.
Asylum and refugee personnel should periodically be provided with updated information and on-site refresher courses. Statistical analysis and data should be uniformly gathered, reported and available for evaluation. Detailed information should be gathered about the assessments and results of the "credible fear" interview, the determinations reached by primary and secondary inspectors, the overseas refugee adjudication, asylum officer referrals, and immigration removal proceeding determinations.
The summary exclusion law of the immigration act should be repealed. At a minimum, procedural safeguards in the summary exclusion screening process for "credible fear" should be strengthened and improved in order to ensure against the return of victims of religious persecution.
Those arriving to the United States without proper documents and seeking to apply here for asylum should be referred immediately to asylum officers for a "credible fear" interview. Those officials responsible for referring individuals for "credible fear" screening should be provided with a list of countries, nationalities and ethnic populations known to be at "high risk" of religious persecution.
Inspectors empowered to detain individuals during the primary or secondary inspection process should follow strict guidelines that prevent the detention of individuals with legitimate asylum claims, while retaining important security procedures that permit the detention of suspected terrorists, criminals, and other significant security risks.
To the extent possible, claimants should have access to non-governmental, independent, and competent, on-site translators, eliminating the need for INS officials to serve as translators.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and relevant non-governmental organizations should be given access to claimants and be made available at all stages of the process to provide claimants with information, guidance and assistance in preparing their claims and to monitor the process.
The INS, in coordination with the UNHCR and non-governmental organizations, should make every effort to provide claimants with information, including explanations and findings, in their native language, either written or oral, to facilitate the claimant's understanding of the decisions and available procedures.
The overseas refugee processing should be strengthened. Expanding the size of the professionally trained asylum corps and better integrating it into the refugee adjudication corps would strengthen overseas refugee processing and could improve assistance to legitimate victims of religious persecution. In addition, individuals seeking refugee protection who claim serious human rights violations, including religious persecution, should be identified as "groups of special humanitarian concern" to the U.S. Government.
UNHCR should be pressed to identify cases of religious persecution not easily accessible to our current refugee processing apparatus. However, UNHCR referrals must not be the only path to adjudication in such cases. Greater use of refugee, human rights and faith-based non-governmental organizations should be made by U.S. missions abroad to identify groups or individuals victimized by religious persecution.
The size of the State Department's Office of Asylum Affairs and the INS Resource Center should be increased to ensure they are capable of providing assistance and up-to-date information, especially on religious persecution, to U.S. consulates and other USG personnel involved in summary exclusion or "credible fear" screening, asylum adjudication or removal proceedings.
Current U.S. Policies:The U.S. Government has played a leading role to garner international support for the establishment of the International War Crimes Tribunals. It also supports the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court. The U.S. has also been instrumental in supporting the formation of Truth Commissions in countries emerging from authoritarian rule, and has provided substantial bilateral assistance to strengthening national institutions of justice and the training of justice personnel. The President has emphasized the importance of ensuring justice as an element in securing peace and an atmosphere that respects and protects human rights. These are important factors for building a society that guarantees religious freedom under the rule of law.
The U.S. should work with the U.N. and regional organizations to ensure that accountability for human rights abuses is a central element in rebuilding post-conflict societies, including religious persecution.
The U.S. should work to help countries establish adequate legal systems where the absence of the rule of law has been a cause of religious persecution.
Current U.S. Policies:The U.S. has led multilateral efforts to advance religious freedom and other human rights through the promotion of peace in conflicts with a religious dimension, from Bosnia to Northern Ireland to the Middle East. The U.S. Government has expressed its commitment to continue and intensify these efforts, which it regards as essential for creating conditions for the unimpeded practice of religious freedom and overcoming sectarian divisions.
The U.S. should remain sensitive to and support, where appropriate, positive efforts of religious groups to protect human rights, encourage conflict resolution, and promote reconciliation in conflict situations.
The U.S. should actively support initiatives by religious leaders in the area of interfaith cooperation and reconciliation, conflict resolution, and civic action.
Current U.S. Policies:The United States has championed efforts to raise the profile of religious freedom in multilateral institutions, including the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The United States played a leading role in creating the position of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance and has continued to support renewal of his mandate. Promotion of religious freedom was a priority for the U.S. delegation at the 1997 United Nations Human Rights Commission, as well as an important issue for the U.S. Delegation at the U.N. General Assembly in September. The U.S. has also taken a lead on specific country resolutions that cite serious violations of religious freedom.
Although the U.S. has taken several steps to promote and integrate the issue of religious freedom at international fora, the issue remains a peripheral one which is not yet fully integrated into the mainstream of deliberations, nor is it mentioned consistently in relevant country resolutions. It is still unclear whether this is a priority issue for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. The U.N. Special Rapporteurs are underfunded and has weak international support. Although some Special Rapporteurs for countries with violations of religious freedom are tasked specifically to consider religious freedom, others are not.
Recommendations Relevant to the United Nations:
The U.S. should continue to make every effort to raise the profile of religious freedom at the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (UNHRC), through resolutions, statements, and full integration of religious freedom considerations in the programs of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights.
The U.S. should consistently give strong support to resolutions at the UNHRC that address religious persecution. The U.S. should play a leading role in seeing that these resolutions are passed by cooperating in the preparation of suitable texts and by marshaling multilateral support for them several months in advance of the yearly UNHRC meeting. By January, these efforts should already be well underway in preparation for the 1998 UNHRC meeting.
The U.S. should work to strengthen the role of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office, to ensure allocation of adequate resources for her mission activities, and to seek full integration of religious freedom issues into her mission.
The U.S. should continue to support the work of the U.N. Special Rapporteurs, facilitate their meetings with leaders of religious communities and organizations that promote respect for human rights, and call on them to report on conditions for religious freedom.
The U.S. should work for ratification of international human rights conventions, as a means of promoting standards that protect religious freedom.
The U.S. should work to ensure that religious freedom is integrated into activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The U.S. should work to ensure that adequate resources are provided for U.N. human rights monitoring and field operations in areas of conflict or systematic human rights abuses, especially those related to religious persecution.
Recommendations Relevant to Regional Organizations:
The U.S. should work to elevate the prominence of religious freedom issues in the deliberations and actions of those regional organizations to which it belongs, including the Organization of American States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The U.S. should also work with allies and friends to encourage them to do likewise in other regional organizations and forums, including the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Organization for African Unity, and others.
Economic Assistance Programs
Current U.S. Policies:The U.S. has, at various times and increasingly, stepped up its efforts to bring religious freedom into the mainstream of American diplomacy. Efforts to date have involved minimal use of economic assistance. The need now is to dedicate personnel and funds specifically to religious freedom programs. Religious freedom must not lose out in the sharp competition for resources among competing foreign policy priorities.
The U.S. should work to ensure adequate funding for the State Department, the Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Information Agency, and all other relevant U.S. Government agencies responsible for promoting human rights, including religious freedom.
The U.S. should work to ensure that funding is adequate for international initiatives for human rights monitoring in areas of conflict or systematic human rights abuses, including those related to religious freedom.
The U.S. should work to ensure adequate U.S. Government funding for non-governmental programs that promote religious freedom and reconciliation.
United States Agency for International Development:
Current U.S. Policies:U.S. policies and programs to assist the development of free and democratic societies that respect the human rights of their people also are designed to foster tolerance and religious freedom. The programs managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) include humanitarian and development assistance. Many programs are funded through Economic Support Funds which are administered by USAID in consultations with the State Department and Embassies.
Nevertheless, there is limited funding for human rights programs, and programs specifically designed to support religious freedom receive insufficient consideration as a priority.
The U.S. Government should begin to develop U.S. funding sources for projects on religious freedom.
USAID should develop pilot programs on religious freedom for implementation in each region of the world.
USAID should ensure that U.S.-funded human rights monitors are trained and sensitized to monitor religious freedom issues.
USAID should ensure that religious freedom is included as an element of U.S.-funded projects in human rights education.
United States Information Agency
Current U.S. Policies:The U.S. Information Agency (USIA) manages a variety of programs that currently include religion as a focus. The USIA International Visitors program provide an important venue for dialogue among religious communities in the United States and overseas. USIA has oversight of various television and radio broadcasts, such the Voice of America, WorldNet, Radio Free Asia, and other programs, and regularly feature issues of religious freedom as a discussion topic. In addition, USIA gathers information on a wide range of topics, including human rights, that has been published in foreign countries by news media and non-governmental organizations. Although many USIA programs have done an excellent job of including a focus on religion and religious freedom, there is not yet a systematic and comprehensive approach at USIA to ensure full integration and incorporation of religious freedom issues into all aspects of their work.
Continue to use VOA, WorldNet and other media to broadcast editorials on U.S. Government support for religious freedom and opposition to religious persecution and other human rights violations.
USIA should ensure full support, including by providing program funds, for participants in inter-faith initiatives that promote human rights, tolerance, reconciliation, and conflict resolution, especially where religious freedom is at risk.
Under the International Visitor program, USIA should further develop ongoing exchange projects involving religious leaders from a variety of faiths in all parts of the world.
USIA should fund Fulbright scholarships focusing on religious freedom.
USIA should sponsor a conference that brings together Fulbright scholars, participants in the International Visitor programs, U.S. Government officials, and interested members of the public to discuss religious freedom and other human rights issues.
USIA should continue to include religious figures among the delegations participating in its exchange programs and take additional steps to ensure that religion is among the issues that are fully integrated into the human rights and political exchanges.
USIA should ensure that reporting by FBIS and other publications provide consistent and thorough reporting on issues of religious freedom, include information from religious groups and other non-governmental organizations.
USIA should make every effort to demonstrate the dynamic religious life and multi-religious fabric of America and underscore the value of universal human rights principles, including religious freedom.
Current U.S. Policies:Trade delegations organized and led by U.S. officials concentrate extensively on commercial issues. The high-level official involvement with these delegations presents opportunities to raise human rights and religious freedom problems, which currently are only infrequently raised by business leaders with foreign governments.
The U.S. Government has worked to promote the Model Business Principles (MBPs) among U.S. businesses. The White House issued the MBPs in May 1995 and emphasized that human rights and economic development are complementary, not contradictory, and that a good human rights environment supports and promotes a good business environment.
The Model Business Principles are a voluntary code for businesses intent on upholding and promoting adherence to universal standards of human rights. They include several areas of importance to the U.S. Government and are designed to have a positive impact on individual workers, local communities, and corporate practices. The MBPs encourage fair employment practices, including avoidance of child and forced labor and avoidance of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, or religious belief; respect for the right of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively; maintenance, through leadership at all levels, of a corporate culture that respects free expression consistent with legitimate business concerns, and does not condone political coercion in the workplace; and development of good corporate citizenship that makes a positive contribution to the communities in which the company operates and where ethical conduct is recognized, valued, and exemplified by all employees.
In addition, the U.S. Government instituted the Best Global Practices designed to award businesses for the exemplary efforts to promote universal human rights principles. The first annual Best Global Practices Award was given in June 1997 to the Asia Pacific Resources, Inc. The President of APR, John Kamm, is widely recognized for his efforts to obtain the release of individuals detained or imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for exercising their right to free expression and for his vigorous advocacy before the business community and the public in encouraging respect for human rights.
The White House has also facilitated inter-agency cooperation to coordinate the messages conveyed by policy principals with regard to U.S. interests on international human rights, including for religious freedom issues. These initiatives, which are relatively new and still marginalized, deserve vigorous and widespread support by the various U.S. Governmental agencies, the business community, and other communities with an interest in promoting human rights and religious freedom.
The U.S. Government should vigorously promote the Model Business Principles (MBPs) and the Best Global Practices Award.
The U.S. Government, with White House leadership, should ensure a coordinated message from all agencies, especially those promoting trade, concerning the U.S. human rights priorities, particularly for religious freedom.
The information and assistance provided by the U.S. Government to businesses should include facts on country-specific human rights situations, including for religious freedom, and should strongly promote the company's adoption of the Model Business Principles.
Trade delegations should include meetings with religious and other non-governmental leaders for discussion on human rights, including religious freedom.
Current Situation:Many U.S. religious groups are concerned with violations of religious freedom whenever and wherever they occur. Religious freedom is central to the understanding of the human person in the theology of most, if not all, religions. Inherent in this principle is respect for the integrity of all religious beliefs.
Religious groups, across the spectrum, offer various forms of involvement in combating violations and promoting religious freedom and other universal human rights. As institutional organizations -- whether large, trans-denominational entities, or small, local churches, synagogues, mosques, or temples -- they each play a crucial role in highlighting the issue. Many have played an important role in foreign policy debates, often communicating their deep concern about human rights violations abroad and influencing U.S. policies.
Many religious groups are conducting important work to assist victims of religious persecution and other human rights violations, monitor and report on human rights violations, educate and defend universal human rights, including the right to religious freedom, mediate conflicts, and promote reconciliation.
In addition, religious leaders can play an important role in establishing dialogue with overseas church members, government officials, and non-governmental activists. A number of Advisory Committee members, acting as individuals, will take part in overseas trips for purposes of establishing such kinds of dialogue.
Religious groups should seek cooperation on areas of mutual interest and concern.
Religious groups should promote and engage in dialogue with other religions, from a perspective of mutual respect and a desire to learn more about different faiths. They should also promote and engage in dialogue with members of their same faith in other countries and seek to learn about their conditions and concerns.
Religious groups should draw on existing resources for human rights reporting and advocacy, such as the non-governmental organizations that focus on human rights and related topics.
Religious groups should work to enhance understanding of this issue by the news media to improve coverage of persecution and human rights stories.
Religious groups should seek to strengthen and improve grant programs to promote religious freedom and assist victims of religious persecution.
Religious leaders in the U.S. should generate dialogue with counterparts in countries of concern overseas, exchange information involving conflict resolution, and support pilot studies and programs to develop a better understanding of religions where reports of religious persecution abound.
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ABROAD
The purpose of the Committee shall be to serve the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) in an advisory capacity with respect to significant issues of religious freedom, intolerance, and reconciliation abroad as agreed upon by the Committee and the Department of State.
The Committee is established under the general authority of the Secretary of State and the Department of State as set forth in Title 22 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), in particular Sections 2656 and 2651a of that Title. The approval of this Charter by the Under Secretary of State for Management constitutes a determination by the Secretary that establishment of this Committee is in the public interest.
III. MEMBERSHIP AND ORGANIZATION
Members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Secretary of State and/or the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the Department of State. The term of membership shall be for the duration of this Charter, except that the Secretary of State or the Assistant Secretary may, at his or her sole discretion, remove or replace members at any time. The membership shall consist of appropriate officers in the U.S. Government and not more than 20 other individuals who are representatives of organizations and institutions having an interest in international issues of religious freedom, intolerance, and reconciliation, and may include: representatives of religious institutions or groups whose membership is affected by issues of religious freedom and conflict resolution; representatives of human rights organizations, public interest groups, public policy institutions, research institutions, inter-faith organizations, conflict resolution and peacemaking institutions with knowledge on major religions and belief systems of the world, human rights, and reconciliation; and academics representative of the various scholarly approaches to addressing issues of religious freedom, intolerance, conflict resolution, and reconciliation, as well as academics representative of the scholarly knowledge about major religions of the world. The membership shall be fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented.
B. Designation of Officers.
The Secretary of State or his Designee shall appoint a Designated Federal Officer (DFO) who shall be an employee of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, a Chairperson (who may also be the DFO), and other officers as he/she or the DFO deem appropriate.
C. Establishment of Study Groups.
(1) The DFO or his/her Designee may establish study groups to provide assistance to the Committee as necessary. The composition of the study groups may include persons with specialized knowledge in addition to those appointed under paragraph A. above. The terms and conditions of such additional appointments shall otherwise be as provided in paragraph A. above.
(2) The DFO or his/her Designee may terminate any study group established pursuant to this Charter.
D. Support Functions.
Support functions for the operation of the Committee and its study groups shall be provided by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the Department of State and other offices as appropriate.
A. Functions of Officers.
In addition to the responsibilities specified above, the DFO or his/her Designee shall serve in accordance with sections 10(e) and (f) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and shall preside at meetings, call and adjourn meetings, prepare the agenda, arrange for the keeping of minutes of each meeting of the Committee, certify to the accuracy of the minutes, and establish study groups to assist the Committee. The minutes shall include the following items: the time, date, and place of the meeting; a listing of Committee and subsidiary group members and agency employees present at the meeting; a description of matters discussed and conclusions reached; copies of all reports received, issued, or approved by the Committee; a description of the extent to which the meeting was open to the public; an explanation of the extent of public participation, including a list of members of the public who presented oral or written statements; and an estimate of the number of members of the public who attended the meeting. The last three items will not be included when the determination to close or partially close the meeting (as described in Article IV. B) has been made.
It is anticipated the Committee will meet as necessary (approximately two times a year) to provide the advice requested by the DFO and that its study groups will meet as necessary. No quorum is required. All Committee meetings will be open to the public up to the limits of the capacity of the meeting room, unless a determination has been made in accordance with Section 10 (d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, that a meeting or a portion of a meeting should be closed to the public. Timely notice of each Committee meeting, stating the name of the Committee, the time, place and purpose of the meeting, a summary of the agenda, and whether the meeting is open to the public shall be published in the Federal Register. Except when shorter notice is authorized in exceptional circumstances, such notice shall be given at least 15 days in advance of the meeting date.
The Committee shall report to the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The DFO will provide the President with a
report of the Advisory Committee's activities.
The records of the Committee will consist of all papers and documents pertinent to its establishment and activities, including its charter, agenda, determinations for closed meetings, minutes, reports, and all documents related to its proceedings. These records shall be available for public inspection and copying to the extent required by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552b, at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the Department of State.
E. Functions of the Committee.
The functions of the Committee shall be advisory, and any determinations or action to be taken on the basis of Committee recommendations, shall be made by appropriate officers of the United States Government. The Committee shall offer recommendations on issues agreed upon by the Committee and the DFO with regard to enhancing religious freedom and promoting religious liberty and reconciliation in situations where people in other countries face religious persecution and intolerance. The Committee may also provide advice on programs that promote global religious liberty and reconciliation, as appropriate.
A. All funding necessary for the organization and operation of the Committee shall be provided by the Department of State.
B. The members of the Committee shall serve without compensation, but may be allowed travel expenses to the extent authorized by 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5703.
C. The estimated operation costs of the Committee during the duration of this Charter are $24,000 in Fiscal Year 1996, $54,000 in Fiscal Year 1997, and $59,000 in Fiscal Year 1998 and the cost of approximately .5 employee per year.
The Committee shall terminate two years from the date this Charter is filed, unless it is renewed or extended by appropriate action prior to that date.
NOW, THEREBY, this Charter shall be considered approved by the Department of State as of this date and shall be provided to the appropriate standing committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives having legislative jurisdiction for the Department of State and to the Library of Congress pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
APPROVED: Patrick F. Kennedy, Acting Under Secretary of State for Management
DATE: September 30, 1996
Biographical Information on the Advisory Committee Chairman, Members, and Executive Director
Dr. Don Argue serves as President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an organization comprised of approximately 42,500 congregations, the work of which touches over 27 million people around the world. The NAE published a Statement of Conscience in 1996 which has become the cornerstone for debate in Washington on policy responses to religious persecution abroad. Dr. Argue served as President of North Central College in Minneapolis for over fifteen years, nearly quadrupling the institution's enrollment during his tenure, and as Dean of Students and campus pastor at Evangel College in Missouri. Dr. Argue obtained his doctorate at the University of the Pacific in California, and has subsequently done substantial post-graduate study throughout the United States, Canada, and England.
Ms. Alexandra Arriagawas appointed in 1995 by Secretary of State Warren Christopher to serve as Special Coordinator for External Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL). She also serves as Executive Director of the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Ms. Arriaga served as Director of the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995. Ms. Arriaga currently chairs the DRL Working Group on Religious Freedom, is a member of the DRL Working Group on Women's Human Rights, and has served as a Member of the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. She has traveled extensively on numerous official delegations, including as a Public Member to the U.N. World Conference on Human Rights held in 1993.
The Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbellis General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ (NCC) in the United States. The NCC represents 34 Protestant and Orthodox member denominations in the United States, to which 52 million people belong. Dr. Campbell has served as the Executive Director of the United States Office of the World Council of Churches and the Associate Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Interchurch Council. She is a leader in interfaith activism on issues of social welfare, Christian unity, women's rights and racism. The Rev. Campbell was a part of the US delegation to the Stockholm Peace Conference and is member of the Board of Theology in Global Context. She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Fund for Education in South Africa and is the religious coordinator for South Africa Free Elections (SAFE).
Dr. Diana L. Eckis Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, where she is Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Faculty of Divinity. Dr. Eck has studied religious diversity in the US and its meaning for American pluralism, has worked on issues concerning inter-religious dialogue and relations, and has written extensively on issues related to Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Islam. She is a member of the international presidium of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. Dr. Eck and the Pluralism Project at Harvard University recently completed "On Common Ground: World Religions in America," a multimedia CD-ROM resource providing information on 15 religious traditions in 18 different U.S. communities.
Dr. Wilma M. Ellisserves as a Member of the Continental Board of Counselors of the Baha'is of the Americas, a body that consults with and provides advice to the elected governing bodies of the Baha'i faith in North, Central and South America. She served as Chief Administrative Officer for several agencies of the Baha'i International Community (BIC), including the United Nations Office, Office of the Environment, Office for the Advancement of Women, and regional representations in Rome, Nairobi, Santiago, Addis Ababa, Vienna, and Bangkok. She has worked with the Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Children's Defense Fund, and as an Edmund S. Muskie Archives Public Affairs Series Lecturer.
Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenbergis President of the Jewish Life Network, Founding President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York, and of the founders of Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Rabbi Greenberg is a theologian who has conducted interfaith dialogue to promote respect of human rights for victims of religious persecution and is a leading thinker in Holocaust theology, intra-Jewish dialogue, Jewish-Christian dialogue, Jewish-Tibetan Buddhist dialogue, and religious pluralism. Rabbi Greenberg served as Rabbi of the Riverdale Jewish Center, Professor at Yeshiva University, and Founder and Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies at City College.
Dr. James B. Henry, in 1996 completed his second term as President of the Southern Baptist Convention and was named Chairperson of the Baptist Worship Study Commission, and has been Pastor at the First Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida since 1977. Dr. Henry has traveled extensively throughout the United States as an Evangelical speaker at university assemblies and religious conferences, was named "Minister of the Year" in 1985 by the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, and is a member of the Central Florida Right to Life Executive Committee.
Bishop Frederick Calhoun Jamesis a member of the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and one of three Vice Presidents of the Inter-Faith Alliance, an organization which espouses to more accurately represent the family of faith to encourage civic responsibility and participation in the democratic process. Bishop James served as Ecumenical officer for the AME Church internationally and recently retired as active Bishop of the Second Episcopal District (MD, VA, NC, DC) of the AME Church. As Presiding Bishop of the AME Church in Southern Africa, Bishop James oversaw the building of publishing houses, schools, cattle farms, and churches, and worked to promote inter-racial dialogue. Bishop James worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the Consultant-Director of Social Action of the AME Church. In 1994, President Clinton called on Bishop James to join the Presidential Delegation to the Inauguration of President Mandela in South Africa.
The Very Reverend Leonid Kishkovskyis a prominent member of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and has represented the church on a number of state occasions, including the installation of Pope John Paul II and the Sofia Consultation of Orthodox Member Churches. He was ordained an Orthodox priest and was a parish priest before becoming Secretary of the Department of External Affairs of the OCA. Father Kishkovsky participated in the US/USSR Church Leaders' Prayer Vigil during the Reagan-Gorbachev Geneva summit and the National Council of Churches (NCC) Presidential Panel on Future Mission and Resources. He has served as NCC President and OCA Assistant to the Chancellor. Recently, he has played an important role in facilitating dialogue with the Moscow Patriarch regarding American opposition to a newly adopted law restricting religious activities in Russia. Father Kishkovsky was born in Poland and, with his family, fled Nazi occupation.
The Reverend Samuel Billy Kyleshas served as Pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee since 1959. He is affiliated with the World Baptist Alliance, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, National Evangelist, and the Ecumenical Minister's Task Force. He is co-founder of People United Save Humanity, a member of the American Committee on Africa, and served as a Delegate to the African National Congress 1993 International Solidarity Conference in South Africa. He has also served as Chairman of the State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is an Executive Committee Member of the National Rainbow Coalition. The Reverend Kyles is the recipient of many awards and honors for his work both nationally and internationally to further civil rights and was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadtis the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. She was an historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and, in 1994, was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council where she currently serves on the Committee of Conscience. As an active member of the Jewish community, Dr. Lipstadt has served on the Executive Committee of the United Jewish Appeal's Young Women's Leadership Cabinet, the UJA Faculty Cabinet, and the Board of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and of Atlanta. She is author of numerous articles and books, including Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, and has lectured at universities throughout the world. Dr. Lipstadt has been quoted in a variety of newspapers and magazines on matters of contemporary and Jewish interest and has appeared on CNN, 60 Minutes, the Charlie Rose Show, among others.
Dr. David Littleis a leading scholar and expert on law and religion, comparative religious ethics, and religious liberty. He serves as Senior Scholar in Religion, Ethics, and Human Rights at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and as Director of the USIP's Working Group on Religion, Ideology, and Peace. In 1996, he served on the US Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Human Dimension Seminar on Constitutional, Legal, and Administrative Aspects of the Freedom of Religion. Dr. Little is currently studying religion, nationalism, and intolerance, and has written 100 professional articles and ten books on issues of religion and human rights. Dr. Little was formerly Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and also lectured at Yale, Brown, Amherst, Harvard and Haverford.
Dr. Laila Al-Marayatiis President of the Muslim Women's League (MWL), an organization dedicated to the dissemination of accurate information about Islam and Muslims, particularly regarding women. Dr. Al-Marayati served as a Public Member of the US Delegation to the United Nation's Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, where she addressed major issues of concern to Muslim women around the world, including the practice of female genital mutilation. The MWL has addressed a wide range of human rights issues, including the atrocities afflicting Muslims in Bosnia, and co-founded the Women's Coalition against Ethnic Cleansing, comprised of over 20 women's religious and civic groups working to assist rape survivors and refugees fleeing Bosnia. Dr. Al-Marayati is a Board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist.
The Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrickserves as Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark and is an outspoken advocate for human rights and the needs of migrants throughout the world. He is Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on International Policy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, and was chosen for the Ellis Island Hall of Fame. Archbishop McCarrick has also been a member of the Helsinki Accords Commission and the Pontifical Commission for Migration and Tourism.
Imam Wallace Deen Mohammedis an important leader in the society of Muslim Americans and the son of Elijah Mohammed. He has received countless awards and acknowledgments for his promotion of universal human excellence, his contributions toward building respect for Islamic life in America, and his establishment of direct and genuine dialogue between the leaders of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In 1988, he represented Muslims at the World Parliament of Religious Leaders' Meeting for the Survival of the Earth and its Environment in England, and later that year represented Muslims in America at the symbolic signing of the First Amendment Charter for Religious Freedom in Virginia. He traveled to Saudi Arabia in 1990 to address the Islamic Conference on the Persian Gulf Conflict and visited again in December 1995 as a guest of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, securing an agreement for improving the curriculum of Muslim schools in America. He is an esteemed member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques, the Peace Council, and an International President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. As part of the inaugural activities for President Clinton, Imam Mohammed participated as a representative of Islam in the Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service. He hosts a nationally syndicated television program, "W. Deen Mohammed and Guest," heard weekly on radio stations throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Dr. Russell Marion Nelsonhas served on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since April, 1984. Dr. Nelson is an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher who has authored numerous publications and chapters in medical textbooks, has lectured on medical issues throughout the United States and in countries around the world, and has received several honorary degrees from different universities, in addition to earning his B.A. , M.D., and Ph.D. degrees. Elder Nelson has held many positions of responsibility in the Church since 1964.
The Most Reverend Ricardo Ramirezhas served as Roman Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, since 1982. Previously, Bishop Ramirez served in his native Texas, Mexico, and Canada. He is Chairman of the National Council of Catholic Bishops' (NCCB) Campaign for Human Development, Administrative Secretary of the Committee for the Study of the History of the Church in Latin America (CEHILA), consultant for the NCCB Committee on Hispanic Affairs, member of the NCCB Committee for African American Catholics and member of the US Catholic Conference's (USCC) International Policy Committee.
Dr. Barnett Richard Rubinis a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has extensive knowledge and has published widely on issues of conflict resolution among ethnic, religious, and nationalistic groups. At Columbia University, Dr. Rubin served as Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for the Study of Central Asia, and Director of the Project on Political Order and Conflict in the Former Soviet Union. In past years, he served as a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. Dr. Rubin's public service experience includes positions at Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Carter Center, the Soros Foundation, and the International League for Human Rights. His work abroad has included human rights missions to Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.
Assistant Secretary John Shattuckwas appointed by President Clinton in 1993 as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He also serves as Chairman of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, and has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to establish international war crimes tribunals, to create a peace process in Bosnia and to promote development of democratic institutions in many post-conflict countries. From 1984 to 1993 Mr. Shattuck was Vice President of Harvard University, where he also taught human rights and civil liberties law at the Harvard Law School and served as Senior Associate in the Program on Science, Technology and Public Policy of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. A longtime human rights advocate, Mr. Shattuck served as Vice-Chair of Amnesty International from 1986 to 1990, and earlier was the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Office.
Ms. Nina Sheais a lawyer and a leading advocate for the defense of religious freedom whose work has mobilized Americans to express their concerns about religious persecution and to demand action on these issues. She is Director of The Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House and author of In the Lion's Den, which reports on the persecution and martyrdom of Christians today and appeals for action to oppose it. In 1986, Ms. Shea co-founded and directed The Puebla Institute, a human rights group dedicated to promoting international religious freedom. Ms. Shea has monitored religious persecution and human rights in China and Vietnam since 1989, has frequently testified before Congress, and has led numerous human rights fact-finding missions around the world. In 1993, Ms. Shea was appointed by the Clinton Administration to serve as a US delegate to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Dr. Elliot Sperlingis a scholar of Buddhist studies, with a focus on Tibet, China, and Mongolia. He has received numerous awards for his scholarship, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a Fulbright Lectureship for the Council for International Exchange of Scholars/USIA. Dr. Sperling formerly taught Himalayan and Tibetan Studies at Harvard and is currently an Associate Professor of Tibetan Studies at Indiana University. He has been a member of the Working Group on Religion at the United States Institute of Peace and has served on the Board of Directors of the Tibet Society. Dr. Sperling has testified before the US Congress and other public bodies on several occasions, and has published extensively on related topics. He has also served as a Consultant to Human Rights Watch/Asia.
His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon*as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is spiritual leader of 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians in America. Born in Warren, Ohio, he is the first American-born elected and enthroned as Archbishop of America. He studied at the famed Theological School of Halki. His graduate studies in Switzerland focused on the history of Protestant Churches, and later, after receiving a scholarship from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he studied Byzantine Literature at Bochum University in Germany. He is fluent in Greek, English, French, Italian, and German. His long and direct contacts with the Roman Catholic Church contributed to his appointment in 1984 as Executive Secretary of the Inter-Orthodox Commission for the Theological Dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. In 1992, he was appointed Chairman of the Inter-Orthodox Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation. He has also made important contributions to building Orthodox unity. Archbishop Spyridon of America is recognized for his dedication to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and for his effectiveness in addressing the needs and problems of the Orthodox Diaspora.
*His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon is represented by:
Mr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Special Assistant to the Archbishop. In this capacity, he represents the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in its non-governmental organization office at the United Nations and on the America's Promise project. Mr. Kireopoulos also coordinates the legislative council of the Archdiocese, and is involved in communications and inter-religious affairs. Previously, he was Associate Director of the Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, as well as representative to the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches. A lay theologian, Mr. Kireopoulos is in the final stages of doctoral work.
Committee Federal Register Notices
December 19, 1996 / Volume 61, Number 245 / Notices / Page 67090 DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Public Notice No. 2489
Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad Established
The Secretary of State is establishing the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, as part of this Administration's work to promote human rights issues. The Under Secretary for Management has determined that the committee is necessary and in the public interest.
Religious and ethnic conflict have often been at the forefront of human rights dilemmas in recent years. The creation of an Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad represents this Administration's commitment to address these issues with new and creative means.
The Advisory Committee will seek to achieve tangible results. Its primary goals include: fostering greater dialogue between religious communities and the U.S. Government; increasing the flow of information to the U.S. Government concerning the conditions of religious minorities facing persecution around the world; and informing interested groups and individuals about the U.S. Government's efforts to address issues of religious persection and religious freedom. The Advisory Committee will provide a formal channel for regular dialogue between the USG and religious groups on issues of religious freedom, as well as for Committee members to offer recommendations to international efforts for enhancing religious freedom, eliminating religious persecution, and promoting religious reconciliation.
The Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad's twenty members represent a wide spectrum of beliefs and knowledge on human rights. The Committee's creation demonstrates the State Department's expanding outreach to the nongovernmental community and its recognition of the positive role religious communities can play in promoting human rights.
Members of the Committee have been appointed by Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, John Shattuck, will chair the Advisory Committee. The Committee members are: Dr. Don Argue, National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, National Council of the Churches of Christ; Dr. Diana L. Eck, Harvard University; Dr. Wilma M. Ellis, Continental Board of Counsellors, Baha'is of the Americas; Rabbi Irving Greenberg, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; Dr. James B. Henry, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Orlando, Florida; Bishop Frederick Calhoun James, African Methodist Episcopal Church; The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church of America; Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, Memorial Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee; Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University; Dr. David Little, U.S. Institute of Peace; Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Muslim Women's League; The Most Rev. Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Newark; Imam Wallace Deen Mohammed, Society of Muslim Americans; Dr. Russell Marion Nelson, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; The Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico; Dr. Barnett Richard Rubin, Council on Foreign Relations; Ms. Nina Shea, Puebla Project of Freedom House; Dr. Elliot Sperling, Indiana University; His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon of America, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The right of religious freedom is affirmed internationally by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a right that the United States would look to see exercised in every corner of the globe. The creation of the Advisory Committee is a step in that direction.
The Committee intends to hold its first meeting at the beginning of 1997, and will advertise this and all other meeting dates, times, and locations in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the meeting date. The Committee will follow the procedures prescribed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Meetings will be open to the public unless a determination is made in accordance with the FACA Section 10(d), 5 U.S.C. 552b(c) (1) and (4) that a meeting or a portion of the meeting should be closed to the public.
For further information, contact Ms. Alexandra Arriaga, Executive Secretary, at (202) 647-1696 or 647-1422.Dated: December 2, 1996
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.
FR Doc. 96-32219 Filed 12-18-96; 8:45 am
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* * * * *Federal Register
January 31, 1997 / Volume 62, Number 21/ Notices / Page 4825
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Public Notice No. 2508
Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad; Meeting
The Department of State announces a meeting of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad on Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 10:00 a.m. in the Loy Henderson room at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC. The Advisory Committee will consider topics related to the promotion of freedom of religion. Topics for consideration could include: Assessing religious freedom abroad and instances of persecution, and assessing the role of religious institutions in promoting an atmosphere in which human rights and freedom of conscience can be enjoyed.
For more information, contact Alexandra Arriaga, Executive Secretary, Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520, telephone: 647-1422.Dated: January 28, 1997
Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Chairman, Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad
FR Doc. 97-2577 Filed 1-29-97; 1:06 pm
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* * * * *Federal Register
June 23, 1997 / Volume 62, Number 120 / Notices / Page 33947
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Public Notice No. 2562
Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad; Public Meeting
The Department of State announces a meeting of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad on Tuesday, July 2, 1997 at 9:00 a.m. in the Loy Henderson auditorium at the U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The Advisory Committee will consider topics related to eliminating religious persecution, supporting religious freedom and promoting reconciliation and conflict resolution.
The Advisory Committee members will elaborate on a report which they will prepare over the course of the year to be delivered to the Secretary of State and the President. The report will focus on two issues: (1) religious persecution and (2) the role of religious groups in promoting conflict resolution, reconciliation and conditions that permit respect for religious freedom and other human rights. In preparing the report, the members will draw on the discussions and information presented at the July 2 meeting, and gathered or presented to them individually throughout the year.
Members of the public wishing to attend the meeting or otherwise desiring information should contact Ms. Raynell Bowling, Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, telephone: (202) 647-1422. In order to attend the meeting, please RSVP by June 30 and provide your date of birth and social security number to facilitate entry to the State Department. Please bring a photo identification to enter the State Department.Dated: June 18, 1997
Chairman, Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad
FR Doc. 97-16518 Filed 6-19-97; 2:10 pm
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* * * * *Federal Register
January 13, 1998 / Volume 63, Number 8 / Notices / Page 1987-88
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Public Notice No. 2710
Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad; Public Meeting Notice
The Department of State announces a meeting of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad on Friday, January 23, 1998 at 10:00 a.m. in the Loy Henderson room at the U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, N.W., Washington D.C. The purpose of the meeting will be the presentation of an interim report, prepared by the Committee's sub-groups and including recommendations on religious persecution and conflict resolution, for adoption by the Advisory Committee and presentation to the Secretary of State. Because of the Secretary's rigorous schedule, it has not been possible to provide a full 15 day's advance notice of this meeting.
This meeting is open to members of the public up to the seating capacity of the room. Admittance to the State Department building is only by means of a pre-arranged clearance list. In order to be placed on the pre- clearance list, please provide your name, title, company, social security number, date of birth, and citizenship to Cecil Grandy by fax at (202) 647-9519 or by telephone at (202) 647-1451. All attendees must use the "C" Street entrance. One of the following valid ID's will be required for admittance:
Any U.S. driver's license with photo, a passport, or a U.S. Government agency ID.
For further information contact Alexandra Arriaga, Executive Secretary of the Committee at (202) 647-1422.Dated: January 7, 1998
Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Chairman, Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad
FR Doc. 98-816 Filed 1-9-98; 9:18 am
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Bibliography of International Treaties, Covenants and Other Instruments
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted 16 Dec. 1966, entered into force 23 March 1976, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), UN Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 UN Treaty Series 171.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 10 Dec. 1948, General Assembly Res. 217A (III), UN Doc. Q/810, at 71 (1948).
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, adopted 25 Nov. 1981, General Assembly Res. 6/55, 36 UN GAOR, Supp. (no. 51), UN Doc. A/36/51, at 171 (1981).
The Council of Europe:
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed 4 Nov. 1950, entered into force 3 Sept. 1953, 213 UN Treaty Series 221, European Treaty Series 5.
Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted 20 March 1952, entered into force 18 May 1954, European Treaty Series 9.
The Organization of African Unity:
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights adopted 27 June 1981, entered into force 21 Oct. 1986, O.A.U. Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 Rev. 5.
The Organization of American States:
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, signed 2 May 1948, OEA/Ser.L./V/II.71, at 17 (1988).
American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San Jose), signed 22 Nov. 1969, entered into force 18 July 1978, OAS Treaty Series 36, O.S.S. Off. Rec. EA/Ser.L/V/II.23, doc.21, rev.6 (1979).
Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Helsinki, 1975.
Bibliography on General Human Rights Documents
Amnesty International and International Service for Human Rights, The UN and Refugees' Human Rights: A Manual on How UN Human Rights Mechanisms Can Protect the Rights of Refugees, Lithosphere, London, 1997.
Antisemitism in the Former Soviet Union, Report 1995-1997, Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, USA, May 1997.
Boyle, Kevin and Juliet Sheen, ed., Freedom of Religion and Belief: A World Report, Routledge, London and New York, 1997.
Eck, Diana L. and the Pluralism Project, On Common Ground: World Religions in America, Columbia University Press, New York, 1997. Multimedia CD-ROM.
Human Rights Watch/Asia and Tibet Information Network, Cutting Off the Serpent's Head: Tightening Control in Tibet, 1994-1995, Human Rights Watch, NewYork, 1996.
Human Rights Watch, Detained in China and Tibet, Human Rights Watch, New York, 1994.
Ishay, Micheline, R., ed., The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches, and Documents from the Bible to the Present, Routledge, New York, 1997.
Johnston, Douglas and Cynthia Sampson, ed., Religion, The Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Oxford University Press, 1994.
Kelsay, John and Sumner B. Twiss, ed., Religion and Human Rights, The Project on Religion and Human Rights, New York, 1994.
Lipstadt, Deborah, Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1935-1945, Free Press New York, 1986.
Lipstadt, Deborah, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, Maxwell Macmillan International, 1993.
Little, David, John Kelsay and Abdulaziz Sachedina, Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture: Western and Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty, Univ. of South Carolina Press, Colombia, 1988.
Marshall, Paul with Lela Gilbert, Their Blood Cries Out: The Untold Story of Persecution Against Christians in the Modern World, World Publishing, Dallas, 1997.
Moreno, Pedro C., ed., Handbook on Religious Liberty Around the World, The Rutherford Institute, 1996.
Puebla Institute, China: Religious Freedom Denied, Washington: Puebla Institute, 1994.
Shea, Nina, In the Lion's Den, Broadman and Holman, Nashville, 1997.
Tahzib, Baniyyih G., Freedom of Religion or Belief: Ensuring Effective International Legal Protection, Kluwer, The Netherlands, 1995.
United Nations Centre for Human Rights, Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments Vol. 1 (Part 1&2), Universal Instruments, United Nations, New York & Geneva, 1994.
van der Vyver, Johan D. and John Witte, Jr., Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective: Legal Perspectives, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague/Boston/London, 1996.
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Documents: Compilation of Documents Pertaining to Human Rights, Committee Print, Washington, D.C., 1983.
Amnesty International Report, annual publication, Amnesty International Publications, London.
Anti-Semitism World Report, annual publication, Institute of Jewish Affairs, London.
Anti-Semitism Worldwide 1995/6, Tel Aviv University, Lester & Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, The Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
Human Rights Watch World Report, annual publication, Human Rights Watch, New York.
International Helsinki Federation, annual publication, International Helsinki Federation, Austria.
U.S. Department of State,Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, annual publication, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
United States Policies in Support of Religious Freedom: Focus on Christians, U.S. Department of State, 1997.
United States Institute of Peace reports, series on Religion, Nationalism and Intolerance, Washington, D.C.: USIP Press.
Abdelfattah, Amor, Report to UN Commission on Human Rights by Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, Geneva, December 1994.
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Link to Secretary Albright's January 23 remarks.
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