More than five billion people live in situations where they face high or very high restrictions on their religion and conscience. And religious persecution and violent religious extremism continues to grow around the world. In the U.S., the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who reports to the Secretary of State, advocates for freedom of religion which underpins a wide array of human rights, economic interests and national security.
With transition to the Trump administration, the position is now vacant. In the past two decades, it has taken prior administrations an average of 353 days (one year) to secure a nomination for Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
This is a critical position to fill within the Department of State. To encourage the administration to move swiftly on a nomination for Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative sent a letter to President Trump that was signed by 715 human rights and international religious freedom advocates. Elijah Brown, EVP of 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative said that, “There is mounting evidence that countries that maintain broad, plural, and inclusive religious freedom are less prone to violence, less likely to export terrorism, and more likely to grow their overall economy.”
Supporting the most vulnerable around the world through an Ambassador for International Religious Freedom has wide bi-partisan support. During the next 353 days more than 7,000 will be killed for their religious beliefs. On behalf of those persecuted, dying for their faith and languishing in the midst of injustice, we ask President Trump to show commitment and to move quickly on this appointment.
Click here to read the letter sent to President Trump.