State of International Religious Freedom

In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Among other provisions, the law created the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and requires the State Department to submit an annual report to Congress on the status of religious freedom around the world.

Each year, U.S. Embassies prepare the initial drafts of country chapters based on information from government officials, religious groups, non-governmental organizations, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, media, and others.

This year’s annual report, which is commonly referred to as the International Religious Freedom Report, describes the status of religious freedom in every country, and it was released on June 10. At a press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback spoke about the U.S. role in protecting religious liberty.

“There is no other nation that cares so deeply about religious freedom, that we gather accounts from all across the world – it’s an enormous, it’s a comprehensive accounting of this fundamental human right,” Pompeo said.

“We must continue to build partnerships and alliances with nations who share our commitment to advance religious freedom around the world,” said Ambassador Brownback. “And we must continue our efforts to stop bad actors. And we must also continue to expand our capacity.”