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Senator Lankford Meets with Nominee for Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today met with President Trump’s nominee to be Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS). 

“Governor Brownback’s commitment to advocate for human rights throughout the world is evident from his time serving in Congress and the state of Kansas,” said Lankford. “He has long advocated for the voiceless. I know he will promote our nation’s values with those who face religious persecution around the world and the right of any person to live their faith peacefully and freely. Nations that allow their citizens to pray according to their faith also live in peace with their neighbors.

“Today’s meeting was an opportunity to discuss the need to incorporate religious freedom into our nation’s foreign policy. We also discussed the need to prioritize the annual international religious freedom report from the State Department, by having trained staff in every embassy to monitor what’s happening on the ground, coordinate with NGOs, and assist the cases of detained Americans. I thank him for taking on this critical role and I urge the Senate to confirm Governor Brownback quickly so we can fill this vital role.”

Brownback has been governor of Kansas since 2011. Previously, he served in the US Senate (1996-2011) and a Representative in the House of Representatives (1995-1996) from Kansas. While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

International religious freedom and this critical position in the State Department has been a priority for Lankford. On April 13, Lankford sent a letter to the President to encourage his administration to take steps to protect international religious freedom by nominating an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. On March 17, Lankford wrote an op-ed about genocide and what America should do to protect persecuted religious minorities abroad. In December 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a bill co-sponsored by Lankford, to strengthen the US’ effort to combat persecution of religious minorities. In 2015, Lankford successfully secured a Trade Promotion Authority amendment that promotes international religious freedom in our trade negotiations.