United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: May 21, 2024

§ 6411.
Office on International Religious Freedom; Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
Establishment of Office

There is established within the Department of State an Office on International Religious Freedom that shall be headed by the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom appointed under subsection (b).


The Ambassador at Large shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall report directly to the Secretary of State.

The Ambassador at Large shall have the following responsibilities:
In general
The primary responsibilities of the Ambassador at Large shall be to—
advance the right to freedom of religion abroad, to denounce the violation of that right, and to recommend appropriate responses by the United States Government when this right is violated; and
integrate United States international religious freedom policies and strategies into the foreign policy efforts of the United States.
Advisory role
The Ambassador at Large shall be a principal adviser to the President and the principal adviser to the Secretary of State regarding matters affecting religious freedom abroad and, with advice from the Commission on International Religious Freedom, shall make recommendations regarding—
the policies of the United States Government toward governments that violate freedom of religion or that fail to ensure the individual’s right to religious belief and practice; and
policies to advance the right to religious freedom abroad.
Diplomatic representation
Subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, the Ambassador at Large is authorized to represent the United States in matters and cases relevant to religious freedom abroad in—
contacts with foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, and specialized agencies of the United Nations, the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other international organizations of which the United States is a member;
multilateral conferences and meetings relevant to religious freedom abroad; and
contacts with nongovernmental organizations that have an impact on the state of religious freedom in their respective societies or regions, or internationally.
Coordination responsibilities
In order to promote religious freedom as an interest of United States foreign policy, the Ambassador at Large—
shall coordinate international religious freedom policies across all programs, projects, and activities of the United States; and
should participate in any interagency processes on issues in which the promotion of international religious freedom policy can advance United States national security interests, including in democracy promotion, stability, security, and development globally.
Reporting responsibilities

The Ambassador at Large shall have the reporting responsibilities described in section 6412 of this title.


The Secretary of State shall provide the Ambassador at Large with such funds as may be necessary for the hiring of appropriate staff for the Office, including full-time equivalent positions and other temporary staff positions needed to compile, edit, and manage the Annual Report under the direct supervision of the Ambassador at Large, and for the conduct of investigations by the Office and for necessary travel to carry out this chapter. The Secretary of State should provide the Ambassador at Large with sufficient funding to carry out the duties described in this section, including, as necessary, representation funds. On the date on which the President’s annual budget request is submitted to Congress, the Secretary shall submit an annual report to the appropriate congressional committees that includes a report on staffing levels for the International Religious Freedom Office.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title I, § 101, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2791; Pub. L. 114–281, title I, § 101(a), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1428.)
cite as: 22 USC 6411