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Report: 9 Trump Admin Actions to Protect Religious Freedom Abroad

Report: 9 Trump Admin Actions to Protect Religious Freedom Abroad

5. Mandate the allocation of embassy resources to engage religious actors and communities.

The brief calls for the president to empower U.S. Missions abroad to advance religious freedom by issuing a presidential letter of instruction to U.S. ambassadors to allocate resources to advance religious freedom.

"Require the development of a religious freedom strategy as part of the annual program planning of all U.S. missions abroad," the brief states. "Expand and institutionalize what are currently regional IRF training initiatives begun under the previous IRF Ambassador."

6. Reenergize attention to religious freedom within U.S. programs promoting democracy and human rights.

The brief calls for the State Department to integrate religious freedom into all U.S. democracy planning and programs, including programs at the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"Increase support, via foreign aid and democracy funding, for religious and secular nongovernmental organizations around the world who seek to advance religious freedom as part of democratic development," the brief suggests. "Where appropriate, frame religious freedom as an issue of diversity, minority inclusion, and cultural preservation, especially when engaging audiences that may be less receptive to arguments grounded in human rights or national security considerations."

7. Make strategic communications and public diplomacy more attentive to religious freedom.

The brief calls on the State Department to provide additional training as to improve awareness and fluency regarding religion for American foreign policy officials responsible for strategic communications.

Additionally, it calls for an increase in the amount of religious freedom programing that is aired on Voice of America and other publicly funded media channels and calls for an increase in the frequency with which government officials consult with religious leaders, religious freedom scholars and other nongovernmental experts.

"Revive the Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group within the State Department's Federal Advisory Committee established by the previous administration," the brief states.

8. Engage multilateral institutions and international law related to religious freedom.

The brief calls on the administration to increase attention at the United Nations to issues of religious persecution and religious extremism by placing a senior official specializing in international religious freedom to be an advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley.

The brief also advises the State Department to "leverage the growing network of foreign IRF-focused institutions that are eager to partner with the United States" and calls for the administration to support coalitions of like-minded countries and multilateral bodies devoted to international religious freedom.

"Expand programs in key countries to educate religious groups and lawyers about victims' rights under international law and about complaint and reporting mechanisms available to them within international institutions," the brief explains.

9. Work closely with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Lastly, the brief calls on the State Department to work with USCIRF, which is a federal commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 that is made up of various religious freedom experts appointed by the president or congressional leaders from each party.

The brief calls on USCIRF to "publicize the administration's progress toward integrating international religious freedom policy into the mainstream of foreign policy."

The commission issues an annual report every May 1 that offers recommendations for the State Department when it comes to countries that are worst violators of human rights.

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