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Reaction to the nuclear agreement between Iran and the “P5+1” – the U.S., U.K., France, China and Russia, plus Germany, the permanent member nations on the U.N. Security Council – has been swift and diverse. Almost simultaneous with its announcement, several prominent Republican leaders, including a few 2016 presidential candidates, denounced it, reflecting a mostly […] Read More

I found myself last week in the unusual position of defending in public the United States government. The latter was the prime mover behind a resolution by the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling on the Sri Lankan government to improve its human rights record and launch a credible investigation into war crimes. Some members […] Read More

GENEVA (RNS) The Obama administration’s new envoy for international religious freedom told a U.N. commission on Tuesday (June 14) that government, political, religious and business leaders must stand ready to condemn hateful ideology. Borrowing from recent headlines, Ambassador-at-Large Suzan Johnson Cook cited a Florida pastor who had been so “publicly reviled and rebuked” for threatening […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on Thursday (June 2), calling the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook a bridge-builder who is right for the job. Speaking at Cook’s ceremonial swearing-in, Clinton cited Cook’s firsts as an African-American Baptist minister and New York police chaplain, as well […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) New legislation proposed by a leading congressional watchdog would push the State Department to make international religious freedom a greater priority. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., introduced a bill on Wednesday (May 11) that would boost the profile of the ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, require religious training for foreign service officers, and reauthorize an […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Obama administration’s nominee to oversee international religious freedom returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday (March 29) in her second bid to charm senators who have doubts about her lack of experience. “The life and professional background I offer to this position are unique,” the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook told members of the […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) U.S. officials praised a United Nations council for a new statement on religious freedom that sidestepped a divisive debate sponsored by Islamic countries over the “defamation of religions.” The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday (March 24) approved a resolution voicing concern on “emerging obstacles” to religious freedom and growing “religious intolerance, discrimination […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Vatican official told a United Nations body on Tuesday (March 22) that people who openly object to homosexual behavior are at risk of losing their human rights when they are prosecuted or stigmatized for their beliefs. “People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behavior between people […] Read More

(RNS) The United Nations kicked off the first “World Interfaith Harmony Week” on Tuesday (Feb. 1) to promote dialogue and civility among the world’s religions. The observances are meant to reaffirm that “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace,” according to a resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly. […] Read More

(RNS) The United Nations kicked off the first “World Interfaith Harmony Week” on Tuesday (Feb. 1) to promote dialogue and civility among the world’s religions. The observances are meant to reaffirm that “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace,” according to a resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly. […] Read More