In October 1998, President Clinton signed into law the International Religious Freedom Act, passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Act mandated the establishment of an Office of International Religious Freedom within the Department of State, headed by an Ambassador-at-Large who serves as principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State in matters concerning religious freedom abroad.
The Office of International Religious Freedom contributes to the U.S. Government’s goals and commitments including:
- To promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries;
- To assist emerging democracies in implementing freedom of religion and conscience;
- To assist religious and human rights NGOs in promoting religious freedom;
- To identify and denounce regimes that are severe persecutors on the basis of religious belief.