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H.R. 1150 (114th): Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 27, 2015 (Introduced).


I

114th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1150

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 27, 2015

(for himself and Ms. Eshoo) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services and Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to improve the ability of the United States to advance religious freedom globally through enhanced diplomacy, training, counterterrorism, and foreign assistance efforts, and through stronger and more flexible political responses to religious freedom violations and violent extremism worldwide, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title and table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings; policy.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Title I—Department of State activities

Sec. 101. Office on International Religious Freedom; Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

Sec. 102. Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

Sec. 103. Training for Foreign Service officers; report.

Sec. 104. Prisoner lists and issue briefs on religious freedom concerns.

Title II—Commission on International Religious Freedom

Sec. 201. Establishment and composition.

Sec. 202. Commission personnel matters.

Sec. 203. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 204. Standards of conduct and disclosure.

Sec. 205. Termination.

Title III—National Security Council

Sec. 301. Special Adviser for Global Religion Engagement and International Religious Freedom; Interagency Policy Committees.

Title IV—Presidential actions

Sec. 401. Presidential actions in response to violations of religious freedom.

Sec. 402. Presidential actions in response to particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

Sec. 403. Consultations.

Sec. 404. Report to Congress.

Sec. 405. Presidential waiver.

Sec. 406. Termination of Presidential actions.

Sec. 407. Statement of policy regarding country of particular concern designation for violent nonstate actors.

Title V—Promotion of religious freedom

Sec. 501. Assistance for promoting religious freedom.

Title VI—Refugee, asylum, and consular matters

Sec. 601. Actions against persons responsible for committing particularly severe violations of international religious freedom.

Title VII—Miscellaneous provisions

Sec. 701. Miscellaneous provisions.

Sec. 702. Clerical amendments.

2.

Findings; policy

Section 2 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

in paragraph (4), in the fourth sentence, by inserting prohibitions on ritual animal slaughter, male infant circumcision, censorship of religious content, or worship on the Internet, after confiscations of property,;

(B)

in paragraph (5), by amending the second sentence to read as follows: In many countries, religious believers are forced to meet secretly, and religious leaders and believers are targeted by national security forces, violent nonstate actors, and hostile mobs.;

(C)

by redesignating paragraph (7) as paragraph (9); and

(D)

by inserting after paragraph (6) the following new paragraphs:

(7)

There is growing evidence that demonstrates a connection between the absence of religious freedom and increased levels of persecution of religious minorities, religiously motivated conflict, violent extremism, and terrorism, including the kind of terrorism that has reached the United States.

(8)

It is increasingly clear that understanding religion and the political and security implications of religious motivation and conviction is critical to the success of United States diplomacy and foreign policy initiatives as there are studies that show—

(A)

75 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the right to the freedom of religion and belief is severely restricted, either by the government or violent nonstate actors; and

(B)

84 percent of the world’s population identifies strongly with a specific religious group.

; and

(2)

in subsection (b), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(6)

Because the promotion of international religious freedom is a foreign policy strategy that protects other, related human rights, advances democracy abroad, and advances United States interests in stability, security, and development globally, the promotion of international religious freedom requires new and evolving policies, global religion engagement strategies, and diplomatic responses that are drawn from the expertise of the national security agencies, the diplomatic services, Congress, and other governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations, and are coordinated across and carried out by the entire range of Federal agencies that are engaged with or conduct negotiations or United States Government funded programs with governments or violent nonstate actors that engage in or tolerate violations of religious freedom.

.

3.

Definitions

Section 3 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6402) is amended—

(1)

by amending paragraph (12) to read as follows:

(12)

Special Adviser

The term Special Adviser means the Special Advisor for Global Religion Engagement and International Religious Freedom described in section 101 of the National Security Act of 1947.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end, the following new paragraphs:

(14)

Special Watch List

The term Special Watch List means the Special Watch List described in section 102(b)(1)(F)(iii).

(15)

Violent nonstate actor

The term violent nonstate actor means a nonsovereign entity or group that—

(A)

exercises significant political power or influence at a national or international level; and

(B)

engages in, finances, or tolerates violations of religious freedom, terrorism, or violence or discrimination targeting religious minorities.

(16)

Institution of Higher Education

The term institution of higher education has the meaning given that term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)

.

I

Department of State activities

101.

Office on International Religious Freedom; Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

Section 101 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6411) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following new sentence: The Office shall be located in the Office of the Secretary of State.;

(2)

in subsection (b), by adding at the end before the period the following: , and shall report directly to the Secretary of State;

(3)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)—

(i)

by striking responsibility and inserting responsibilities;

(ii)

by striking shall be to advance and inserting the following:

shall be to—

(A)

advance

;

(iii)

in subparagraph (A), as so added, by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(iv)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(B)

integrate United States international religious freedom policies and religious engagement strategies into democracy, civil society, conflict prevention and mitigation, and development efforts funded by the United States and into the counterterrorism policies of Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of the Treasury.

;

(B)

in paragraph (2), by striking a principal adviser and inserting the principal adviser;

(C)

in paragraph (3)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A), by striking and at the end;

(ii)

in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(C)

contacts with nongovernmental organizations that have an impact on the state of religious freedom in their respective societies or regions, or internationally.

;

(D)

by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5); and

(E)

by inserting after paragraph (3) the following new paragraph:

(4)

Coordination responsibilities

In order to promote religious freedom as an interest of United States foreign policy, the Ambassador at Large shall coordinate religious freedom policies and religious engagement strategies across all programs, projects, and activities of the United States, including any appropriate programs, projects, and activities of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, and the United States Agency for International Development.

; and

(4)

in subsection (d), by striking staff for the Office and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting individuals to fill at least 20 full-time equivalent staff positions, and other temporary staff positions as needed to compile, edit, and manage the Annual Report, including a senior advisor for the Office, under the direct supervision of the Ambassador at Large, for the conduct of investigations by the Office on conditions of religious freedom on a worldwide basis, and for any necessary travel to carry out the provisions of this Act. The Secretary of State shall also provide to the Ambassador at Large representation funds that are sufficient to carry out the duties described in this section at levels at least equal to the amount of representation funds provided to other Ambassadors at Large in the Department of State..

102.

Annual Report on International Religious Freedom

Section 102(b)(1) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6412(b)(1)) is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking September 1 and inserting May 1;

(2)

in subparagraph (A)—

(A)

in clause (iii), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in clause (iv), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new clause:

(v)

any action taken by a government or other entity to censor religious content, communications, or worship activities online, including descriptions of the targeted religious group, the content, communication, or activities censored, the means used, and government or other entity engaged in such online censorship activities.

;

(3)

in subparagraph (B), in the matter preceding clause (i)—

(A)

by inserting persecution of lawyers, politicians, or other human rights advocates seeking to defend the rights of members of religious groups or highlight religious freedom violations, prohibitions on ritual animal slaughter or male infant circumcision, after entire religions,; and

(B)

by inserting policies that ban or restrict the public manifestation of religious belief and the peaceful involvement of religious groups or their members in the political life of each such foreign country, after such groups,;

(4)

in subparagraph (C)—

(A)

by striking A description and inserting A comprehensive description;

(B)

by striking policies in support and inserting religious engagement policies in support; and

(C)

by adding at the end before the period the following: , and a unique, comprehensive, and country-specific analysis of the impact of actions by the United States on the status of religious freedom in each such country; and

(5)

in subparagraph (F), by adding at the end the following new clause:

(iii)

Special Watch List

A list, to be known as the Special Watch List, which shall identify any country or violent nonstate actor that has engaged in or tolerates violations of religious freedom during the previous reporting year but which the President determines does not meet, at the time of the publication of the Annual Report, all of the criteria described in section 3(11) for designation as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under section 402(b)(1).

.

103.

Training for Foreign Service officers; report

(a)

Amendment to Foreign Service Act of 1980

Section 708 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 4028) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsections (b) and (c) as subsections (d) and (e), respectively;

(2)

in subsection (d), as redesignated, by striking The Secretary of State and inserting Refugees.—The Secretary of State;

(3)

in subsection (e), as redesignated, by striking The Secretary of State and inserting Child Soldiers.—The Secretary of State;

(4)

by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:

(a)

Development of Curriculum

(1)

In general

The Secretary of State shall develop a curriculum for training United States Foreign Service officers in the scope and strategic value of international religious freedom, how violations of international religious freedom harm fundamental United States interests, how the advancement of international religious freedom can advance such interests, how United States international religious freedom policy should be carried out in practice by United States diplomats and other Foreign Service officers, and the relevance and relationship of international religious freedom to United States defense, diplomacy, development, and public affairs efforts to combat violent extremism. The Secretary of State shall ensure the availability of sufficient resources to develop and implement such curriculum.

(2)

Role of other officials

The Secretary of State shall carry out paragraph (1)—

(A)

with the assistance of the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom appointed under section 101(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998;

(B)

in coordination with the Director of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center and other Federal officials as appropriate; and

(C)

in consultation with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom established in section 201(a) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

(b)

Training Program

Not later than the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015, the Director of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center shall begin mandatory training on religious freedom for all Foreign Service officers, including all entry level officers, all officers prior to departure for posting outside the United States, and all outgoing deputy chiefs of mission and ambassadors. Such training shall, at minimum, be a separate, independent, and required segment of each of the following:

(1)

The A–100 course attended by all Foreign Service officers.

(2)

The courses required of every Foreign Service officer prior to a posting outside the United States, with segments tailored to the particular religious demography, religious freedom conditions, religious engagement strategies, and United States strategies for advancing religious freedom, in each receiving country.

(3)

The courses required of all outgoing deputy chiefs of mission and ambassadors.

(c)

Information Sharing

The curriculum and training materials developed pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) shall be shared with the United States Armed Forces, intelligence community (as such term is defined in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947), and all other Federal departments and agencies whose personnel serve as attachés, advisors, or detailees in United States embassies globally to provide training and particularized instruction on United States religious freedom policies, religious traditions, religious engagement strategies, religious and cultural issues, and efforts to combat terrorism and violent religious extremism.

.

(b)

Report

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, and the Director of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report containing a comprehensive plan for undertaking training for Foreign Service officers as required under section 708 of the Foreign Services Act of 1980, as amended by subsection (a) of this section.

104.

Prisoner lists and issue briefs on religious freedom concerns

Section 108 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6417) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

in the heading, by striking Sense of the Congress and inserting Policy statement on diplomatic advocacy for prisoners of conscience; and

(B)

by striking it is the sense of the Congress that officials of the executive branch of Government should promote and inserting it shall be the policy of the United States Government that all officials of the executive branch, including the Secretary of State, the Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom, and State Department officials from regional bureaus, as appropriate, shall promote;

(2)

in subsection (c), by striking , as appropriate, provide and insert make available; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(d)

Victims List Maintained by the Commission

The Commission shall make publicly available online and in official publications, regularly updated lists of persons it determines are imprisoned, detained, disappeared, placed under house arrest, tortured, or subject to forced renunciations of faith for their religious activity or religious freedom advocacy by a foreign government or violent nonstate actor that the Commission recommends for designation as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under section 402(b) and include as much publically available information as possible on the conditions and circumstances of such individuals. In compiling such lists, the Commission shall exercise all appropriate discretion, including consideration of the safety and security of, and benefit to, the persons who may be included on the lists and their families.

.

II

Commission on International Religious Freedom

201.

Establishment and composition

(a)

In general

Subsection (a) of section 201 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6431) is amended by inserting before the period at the end the following: , which shall be an independent Federal Government advisory body.

(b)

Selection

Subsection (b)(2)(A) of such section is amended by inserting at the end the following new sentence: The Commission as a whole shall also have expertise on the variety of faiths practiced around the world..

(c)

Membership

Subsection (b)(3) of such section is amended by striking The appointments required by paragraph (1) shall be made not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. and inserting the following: An appointment required by subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) should be made within 90 days of a vacancy on the Commission..

(d)

Vacancies

Subsection (g) of such section is amended by striking the second sentence.

202.

Commission personnel matters

(a)

In general

Subsection (a) of section 204 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6432b) is amended in the second sentence, by inserting voting after nine.

(b)

Compensation

Subsection (b) of such section is amended by inserting voting members of the after The.

(c)

Security clearances

Subsection (e) of such section is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: The Department of State is encouraged to allow Commissioners and Commission staff with the appropriate security clearance access to classified information, in order to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of their positions..

(d)

Application of antidiscrimination laws

Subsection (g) of such section is amended by inserting , including discrimination on the basis of religion after employment discrimination.

203.

Authorization of appropriations

Section 207(a) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6435(a)) is amended by striking 2015 and inserting 2021.

204.

Standards of conduct and disclosure

Section 208(d)(2) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6435a(d)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(H)

Intern, fellowship, and volunteer programs that are primarily of educational benefit to the intern, fellow, or volunteer. Sponsoring private parties may provide compensation and benefits to interns, fellows, and volunteers, provided that no conflict of interest arises. The number, duration, and funding source of any such internship, fellowship, or volunteer programs shall be described in the annual financial report required by subsection (e).

.

205.

Termination

Section 209 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6436) is amended by striking September 30, 2015 and inserting September 30, 2021.

III

National Security Council

301.

Special Adviser for Global Religion Engagement and International Religious Freedom; Interagency Policy Committees

(a)

Amendments to National Security Act of 1947

Section 101 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3021) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (k)—

(A)

in the first sentence—

(i)

by striking It is the sense of that there should be and inserting The President shall appoint; and

(ii)

by striking Special Adviser to the President on International Religious Freedom, whose position should be comparable to that of a director and inserting Special Adviser for Global Religion Engagement and International Religious Freedom, whose position shall be comparable to that of a senior director; and

(B)

by striking the second and third sentences and inserting the following: The Special Adviser, shall assist the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom described in section 101 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to coordinate international religious freedom policies and global religion engagement strategies throughout the Executive Branch and develop policy recommendations and strategies relevant to the programs, projects, activities of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, and the United States Agency for International Development. The Special Adviser shall serve as a resource and liaison for executive branch officials, Congress, and nongovernmental organizations as appropriate on matters relating to international religious freedom policy and engagement with religious communities outside the United States.; and

(2)

by adding at the end, the following new subsections:

(m)

Interagency Policy Committee on International Religious Freedom and Global Religion Engagement

(1)

Establishment

There should be established within the National Security Council a permanent interagency policy committee to be known as the Interagency Policy Committee on International Religious Freedom and Global Religion Engagement (in this subsection referred to as the Committee).

(2)

Membership

The Committee should be chaired by the Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom described in section 101 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and include all appropriate executive agency officials needed to carry out the functions of this Act.

(3)

Functions

The Committee should develop a global religion engagement strategy globally to advance international religious freedom, develop strategies to better advance international religious freedom policy, and help coordinate such strategies across the Executive Branch.

(n)

Interagency Policy Committee on Religion, International Religious Freedom, and National security

(1)

Establishment

There should be established within the National Security Council a permanent interagency policy committee to be known as the Interagency Policy Committee on Religion, International Religious Freedom, and National Security (in this subsection referred to as the Committee).

(2)

Membership

The Committee should be co-chaired by the Deputy National Security Advisor and the Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom described in section 101 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

(3)

Functions

The Committee should analyze conditions and trends of international religious freedom and identify potential national security risks related to the absence of religious freedom globally, including threats to stability from authoritarian governments, terrorism, violent religious extremism, sectarian and religiously related violence, and laws that restrict religious freedom and develop strategies to address such threats. In addition, the Committee should coordinate policy on the intersection of religion, international religious freedom, and United States interests in preventing terrorism, countering violent extremism, and mitigating and preventing conflict.

.

(b)

Regulations

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President should promulgate regulations to carry out subsections (k), (m), and (n) of section 101 of the National Security Act of 1947 as amended by subsection (a) of this section.

IV

Presidential actions

401.

Presidential actions in response to violations of religious freedom

Section 401(b)(2) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6441(b)(2)) is amended to read as follows:

(2)

Deadline for Actions

(A)

In General

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), not later than 90 days after the date on which each of the Annual Reports is submitted under section 102(b), the President shall take 1 or more of the actions referred to in section 405(a) or a commensurate action with respect to each foreign country and violent nonstate actor that has engaged in or tolerated violations of religious freedom at any time since the previous such report was submitted.

(B)

Additional Prerequisite

The President may not take any of the actions described in paragraphs (9) through (15) of section 405(a) or a commensurate action with respect to a foreign country or violent nonstate actor until the President certifies that the requirements under sections 403 and 404 have been satisfied with respect to such country or actor.

.

402.

Presidential actions in response to particularly severe violations of religious freedom

Section 402 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6442) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)—

(i)

by amending subparagraph (A) to read as follows:

(A)

In General

Not later than 90 days after the date on which each Annual Report is submitted under section 102(b), the President shall—

(i)

review the status of religious freedom in each foreign country to determine whether the government of that country has engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom in each such country during the preceding 12 months or longer; and

(ii)

designate each country the government of which has engaged in or tolerated violations described in clause (i) as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under section 402(b).

; and

(ii)

in subparagraph (C), by striking September 1 of the respective year and inserting the date on which each Annual Report is submitted under section 102(b);

(B)

by amending paragraph (3) to read as follows:

(3)

Congressional notification

(A)

In General

Whenever the President designates a country as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under paragraph (1)(A), the President shall, not later than 90 days after the designation is made, transmit to the appropriate congressional committees—

(i)

the designation of the country, signed by the President;

(ii)

the identification, if any, of responsible parties determined under paragraph (2); and

(iii)

a description of the actions taken under subsection (c), the purposes of the actions taken, and the effectiveness of the actions taken.

(B)

Removal of Designation

A country that is designated as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under paragraph (1)(A) shall retain such designation until the President determines and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the country should no longer be so designated.

(C)

Explanation for Nondesignation

If the President does not designate a country as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under paragraph (1)(A) after the Commission has recommended such designation, the President shall provide an explanation for the nondesignation to the appropriate congressional committees.

; and

(C)

by adding at the end, the following new paragraph:

(4)

Treatment of countries on Special Watch List

(A)

In General

The President shall designate as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under paragraph (1)(A) any country that appears on the Special Watch List—

(i)

in more than 2 consecutive Annual Reports;

(ii)

in any 4 Annual Reports; or

(iii)

in more than 1 Annual Report if the President has previously designated such country as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under paragraph (1)(A).

(B)

Exercise of Waiver Authority

The President may waive the application of clauses (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A) with respect to a country for up to 2 years if the President certifies to the appropriate committees of Congress that—

(i)

the country has entered into an agreement with the United States to carry out specific and credible actions to improve religious freedom conditions and end religious freedom violations;

(ii)

the country has entered into an agreement with the United Nations, the European Union, or other ally of the United States, to carry out specific and credible actions to improve religious freedom conditions and end religious freedom violations; or

(iii)

waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.

(C)

Effect on Designation as Country of Particular Concern

The presence or absence of a country from the Special Watch List in any given year shall not preclude the designation of such country as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under paragraph (1)(A) in any such year.

; and

(2)

in subsection (c)(5), in the second sentence, by inserting and include a description of the impact of the designation of such sanction or sanctions that exist in each country after determines satisfy the requirements of this subsection.

403.

Consultations

Section 403(a) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6443(a)) is amended by striking As soon as practicable and inserting Not later than 90 days.

404.

Report to Congress

Section 404(a) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6444(a)) is amended—

(1)

by striking decides to take action under section 401 and inserting takes action under section 401;

(2)

by striking decides to take action under paragraphs and inserting takes the required action under paragraphs; and

(3)

in paragraph (4)(A)—

(A)

in clause (ii), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in clause (iii), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new clause:

(iv)

the impact on other policy tools, and a description of policy tools being applied in the country, including programs that target democratic stability, economic growth, and counterterrorism.

.

405.

Presidential waiver

Section 407 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6447) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by inserting , for a 180-day period, after may waive; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(c)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that ongoing and persistent waivers for any country designated as a country of particular concern for religious freedom under section 402(b) for engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of religious freedom do not fulfill the purposes of this Act, and, given that promotion of religious freedom is a compelling interest of United States foreign policy, the President, the Secretary of State, and other executive branch officials, in consultation with Congress, should seek to find ways to address existing violations, on a country-by-country basis, through the actions specified in section 405 or other commensurate actions, possibly including through the actions described in section 605, or by some other action that addresses the specific religious freedom violations of each country designated.

.

406.

Termination of Presidential actions

Section 409 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6449) is amended to read as follows:

409.

Termination of Presidential actions

Any Presidential action taken under this Act with respect to a foreign country shall terminate after a determination by the President, in consultation with the Commission, and written certification to Congress that the foreign government has taken substantial and verifiable steps to cease the particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

.

407.

Statement of policy regarding country of particular concern designation for violent nonstate actors

Title IV of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6441 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 405 the following new section:

405A.

Statement of policy regarding country of particular concern designation for violent nonstate actors

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Since 1998, various administrations have made designations targeting violent nonstate actors who engaged in or tolerated systematic, egregious, or ongoing violations of religious freedom, such as the Taliban and Serbian groups carrying on atrocities against Bosnians.

(2)

Over the past 10 years the number of violent nonstate actors has increased, as have violations of religious freedom perpetuated by such actors.

(b)

Statement of policy

It should be the policy of the United States Government that—

(1)

violent nonstate actors should be eligible for designation as countries of particular concern described in section 402(b) and that Presidential actions described in section 405, 604, or 605 of this Act should be applicable to violent nonstate actors or individual members of such groups; and

(2)

the President should include, in the report to Congress required by section 404, any reasons why violent nonstate actors that engaged in or tolerated restrictions on religious freedom, were not designated as countries of particular concern, particularly if the Commission made a recommendation for such a designation to the President and whether any Presidential actions described in section 405, 604, or 605 were taken against violent nonstate actors or individual members of such groups.

.

V

Promotion of religious freedom

501.

Assistance for promoting religious freedom

Section 501 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsections:

(c)

Availability of Amounts

Of the amounts made available for fiscal years 2016 through 2021 for the Human Rights and Democracy Fund established under section 664 of the Freedom Investment Act of 2002 (subtitle E of title VI of Public Law 107–228), the Secretary of State shall provide to the Office—

(1)

not less than 10 percent of such amounts for each such fiscal year for the promotion of international religious freedom through—

(A)

groups that are able to develop legal protections or promote cultural and societal understanding of international norms of religious freedom;

(B)

groups that seek to address and mitigate religiously motivated and sectarian violence and combat violent extremism; and

(C)

those seeking to strengthen investigations, reporting and monitoring of religious freedom violations; and

(2)

not less than 2 percent of such amounts for each such fiscal year for the Religious Freedom Defense Fund established under subsection (d).

(d)

Religious Freedom Defense Fund

(1)

Establishment

There is established in the Department of State a fund to be known as the Religious Freedom Defense Fund (referred to in this subsection as the Fund) which shall be administered by the Ambassador at Large.

(2)

Amounts

The Fund shall consist of amounts made available under subsection (c)(2).

(3)

Use of Fund

The Ambassador at Large shall use amounts in the Fund to issue grants for the following:

(A)

Victims of religious freedom abuses and their families to cover legal and other expenses that may arise from detention, imprisonment, torture, fines, and other restrictions.

(B)

Projects to help create and support training of a new generation of defenders of religious freedom, including legal and political advocates, and civil society projects which seek to create advocacy networks, strengthen legal representation, train and educate new religious freedom defenders, and build the capacity of religious communities and rights defenders to protect against religious freedom violations, mitigate societal or sectarian violence, or minimize legal or other restrictions of the right to the freedom of religion.

(4)

Preference

In issuing grants under paragraph (3), the Ambassador at Large shall, as appropriate, give preference to projects targeting religious freedom violations in countries designated as countries of particular concern for religious freedom under section 402(b) and those included on the Special Watch List.

(e)

Consultation

The Ambassador at Large should consult, in developing priorities and policies for disbursing the funds referred to in subsection (c), including grant policies and the identification of potential grantees, with other Federal agencies, including the Commission, and the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy and, as appropriate, other nongovernmental organizations.

.

VI

Refugee, asylum, and consular matters

601.

Actions against persons responsible for committing particularly severe violations of international religious freedom

Title VI of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6471 et seq.) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating section 605 as section 606; and

(2)

by inserting after section 604 the following new section:

605.

Actions against persons responsible for engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of international religious freedom

(a)

Authority To sanction persons responsible for engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of international religious freedom

Notwithstanding section 202 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701), the President may exercise the authority specified in section 203 of such Act with respect to—

(1)

any foreign person that the President determines, based on credible evidence, plays a role in committing, ordering, sponsoring, or materially supporting systemic, egregious, and ongoing violations of religious freedom; or

(2)

any foreign person that the President determines to be providing material or other assistance supporting violence or terrorist acts targeting members of religious groups.

(b)

Report to Congress on identification and sanction of persons engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of international religious freedom

(1)

In General

Upon exercising the authority described in subsection (a) with respect to a foreign person, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report—

(A)

identifying the foreign persons that the President determines to be subject to action under subsection (a) and the basis for such determination; and

(B)

describing the actions carried out against such foreign persons pursuant to subsection (a).

(2)

Report on Removal of Sanctions

Upon suspending or terminating any action imposed on a person under the authority of subsection (a), the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees written notification of such suspension or termination.

(3)

Submission of Classified Information

Reports submitted under this subsection shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.

(4)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Appropriate congressional committees

The term appropriate congressional committees means—

(i)

the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and

(ii)

the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

(B)

Foreign person

The term foreign person means a person that is not a United States person.

(C)

Person

The term person means an individual or entity.

(D)

United States person

The term United States person means—

(i)

a United States citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States; or

(ii)

an entity organized under the laws of the United States or of any jurisdiction within the United States, including a foreign branch of such entity.

.

VII

Miscellaneous provisions

701.

Miscellaneous provisions

Title VII of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6481 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new sections:

702.

Codes of conduct for United States institutions of higher education outside the United States

(a)

Finding

Congress recognizes the enduring importance of United States institutions of higher education worldwide both for their potential for shaping positive leadership and new educational models in host countries and for their emphasis on teaching universally recognized rights of free inquiry and academic freedom.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that United States institutions of higher education operating campuses outside the United States or establishing any educational entities with foreign governments, particularly with or in countries the governments of which engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom as identified in the Annual Report and the annual report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, should adopt a code of conduct—

(1)

upholding the right of freedom of religion of their employees and students, including the right to manifest that religion peacefully as protected in international law;

(2)

ensuring that the religious views and peaceful practice of religion in no way affect, or be allowed to affect, the status of a worker’s or faculty member’s employment or a student’s enrollment; and

(3)

affirming that all negotiations, contracts, or memoranda of understanding engaged in or constructed with a foreign government to establish any educational entity, shall be open, transparent, and made available for public inspection before conclusion and that any such agreement shall affirm, at all times, academic freedom and universal rights to the freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and association.

703.

Sense of Congress regarding national security strategy to promote religious freedom through United States foreign policy

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the annual national security strategy report of the President required by section 108 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3043) should promote international religious freedom as a foreign policy and national security priority and should articulate that promotion of the right to freedom of religion is a strategy that protects other, related human rights, and advances democracy outside the United States, and make clear its importance to United States foreign policy goals of stability, security, development, and diplomacy; and

(2)

the national security strategy report should be a guide for the strategies and activities of relevant Federal agencies and inform the Department of Defense quadrennial defense review under section 118 of title 10, United States Code, and the Department of State Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

.

702.

Clerical amendments

The table of contents of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 note) is amended—

(1)

by inserting after the item relating to section 405 the following:

Sec. 405A. Statement of policy regarding country of particular concern designation for violent nonstate actors.

;

(2)

by striking the item relating to section 605 and inserting the following:

Sec. 606. Studies on the effect of expedited removal provisions on asylum claims.

;

(3)

by inserting after the item relating to section 604 the following:

Sec. 605. Actions against persons responsible for committing particularly severe violations of international religious freedom.

;

and
(4)

by adding at the end the following:

Sec. 702. Codes of conduct for United States institutions of higher education operating outside the United States.

Sec. 703. Sense of Congress regarding national security strategy to promote religious freedom through United States foreign policy.

.