Miami, FL— U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPS), today issued a statement on the State Department’s release of its annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom:
“I commend Secretary Pompeo for personally releasing the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report and underscoring the importance of protecting this fundamental human right that remains under assault globally.
“The right to worship freely and peacefully live out our faith is part of who we are as a nation. The State Department’s report is a poignant reminder that millions of people around the world are denied that same freedom and face daily harassment, detention, and even violence. From Rohingya Muslims in Burma to Christians, Jews, and Baha’is in Iran, to Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and countless others in China, no faith group is untouched.
“I am pleased to have Ambassador Sam Brownback at the helm of the International Religious Freedom Office at this critical time. It is vital to have fact-based reporting on government and non-state actors engaged in gross abuses of religious freedom. But reporting alone is not enough. I urge robust implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a law that gives the State Department important, new tools to meet the religious freedom challenges in the 21st century.”
Rubio authored the Senate version of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (Public Law 114-281). Enacted in December 2016, this law strengthens and modernizes the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, providing the State Department with new tools to counter the spread of violent extremism, and to promote and advance the universal human right of religious freedom around the world.
Rubio is a leading advocate for international religious freedom issues in the U.S. Senate, and played a key role in reauthorizing the bipartisan, independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2015.