Senate Confirms Rabbi Saperstein as Ambassador for International Religious Freedom
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First welcomed the Senate’s confirmation of Rabbi David Saperstein as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. Rabbi Saperstein was nominated in July 2014 and confirmed last night. Human Rights First had urged the Senate to move quickly to confirm him.
“During his Senate confirmation hearing, Rabbi Saperstein noted that he would seek to engage ‘every segment of the State Department and the rest of the U.S. Government, to integrate religious freedom into our nation’s statecraft: counter-terrorism, conflict stability efforts, economic development, human rights,’ a smart approach that should be supported by the White House and Congress,” noted Human Rights First’s Tad Stahnke. “We look forward to working with Ambassador Saperstein to promote international religious freedom, which has important implications for national security, economic development, and democracy promotion.”
Human Rights First urges the White House and Congress to build a stronger infrastructure to provide the necessary resources for a reinvigorated policy of new tools and strategies for promoting international religious freedom. Current international religious freedom policy––in place since 1998 and largely built around the threat of economic sanctions against governments which no administration has been willing to use––has been underperforming in relation to the challenges and opportunities around the world.
“At a time when escalating sectarianism and violence against religious minorities is rampant in many parts of the world, Ambassador Saperstein is uniquely qualified to bring international religious freedom to the forefront of this administration’s policy,” said Stahnke.