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Congressman Randy Hultgren

Representing the 14th District of ILLINOIS

Congress Urges Determined Action on International Religious Freedom in New Resolution

May 11, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14), along with Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ-08), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18) today introduced the bipartisan H.Res. 319 which reaffirms the United States’ commitment to promoting religious freedom globally and urges the Administration to implement standing laws and new policies.

In addition to urging the swift appointment of an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the Department of State, the resolution calls for the Administration to implement provisions of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act and develop strategic plans to integrate international religious freedom at all levels of diplomacy, development and national security.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental right enshrined in the American Constitution and universally recognized around the globe. But numerous reports confirm rising attacks, restrictions and harassment on religious minorities of many faiths by state and non-state actors alike. We must reverse this trend by acting quickly and with strategic focus,” said Rep. Hultgren. “New technologies, new laws and new research are on the side of the persecuted and abused. It’s up to the United States to stand up and reaffirm its leadership and commitment to vulnerable populations around the globe. I urge the Administration to take up these recommendations with speed.”

The resolution:

  • Reaffirms U.S. commitment to promoting religious freedom globally and calls on the President and the Secretary of State to strengthen United States religious freedom diplomacy
  • Calls on the President to appoint a new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and a Special Advisor for International Religious Freedom
  • Calls for the Administration to develop and integrate a national security strategy on international religious freedom
  • Urges the Administration to provide strong support for existing United Nations institutions that have a specialized expertise on the issue and leverage the growing network of foreign international religious freedom-focused institutions
  • Calls for the Administration to develop a strategic plan for U.S. diplomatic missions to promote and protect international religious freedom through grant-making and related activities
  • Urges the Secretary of State to implement the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act and develop a training curriculum for all American diplomats in international religious freedom policy
  • Calls for a comprehensive and multiyear strategy that partners with civil society, businesses, key technology industries, religious leaders and human rights defenders to achieve rapid levels of closed society access to the Internet in promotion of democracy and human rights
  • Urges that not less than five percent of funds appropriated for the Broadcasting Board of Governors is used to support internet firewall and censorship circumvention activities
  • Urges the Administration to develop a comprehensive response to protect the victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and to provide humanitarian, stabilization and recovery assistance to all individuals from religious and ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria
  • Urges the Secretary of State to re-establish the Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group within the Department of State’s Federal Advisory Committee established by the previous administration

Rep. Hultgren is Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) and a commissioner on both the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and the Helsinki Commission (Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe).