secretary of state
The Obama administration isn’t afraid to call out Republicans for playing politics on Capitol Hill, or Wall Street for runaway profits or insurance companies for health care woes.
But why, when it comes to protecting religious freedom abroad, is the State Department so hesitant to name names?
Watchdogs say the State Department missed a key opportunity to put teeth into its annual assessment of global religious freedom, which was released by Secretary of State John Kerry Monday.
Continuing a pattern begun under President George W. Bush, the report does not include a list of “countries of particular concern,” or “CPCs” — the diplomatic term for countries that either actively suppress religious freedom or don’t do enough to protect it.
Secretary of State John Kerry is calling for the release of an Iranian-American minister from a Tehran prison, a welcome step for advocates who had accused the State Department of being “AWOL” on the case.
“I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs,” Kerry said in a statement released on March 22.
“I am disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire.”
The Associated Press reports that the Senate has confirmed John Kerry as Secretary of State with a 94-3 vote. Earlier today, the Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the nomination. Kerry, a Vietnam veteran and five-term Senator, replaces Hillary Clinton as Secretary.
Editor's Note: The following is the statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following the tragic events in Libya Tuesday evening.
Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.
This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost.
Nearly a year into her stint as the State Department's point person on religious freedom, the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook has traveled to eight countries and seems to have moved beyond questions about her lack of diplomatic experience.