James Standish

Congratulations to James Standish, who has served for a number of years as associate director of the  Department of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference and executive director of the North American Religious Liberty Association. He has become executive director of the United States Commission on International Religious Liberty.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress. …

Congress passed the IRFA (Public Law 105-292) to promote religious freedom as a U.S. foreign policy goal and to combat religious persecution in other countries. The law created an Office of International Religious Freedom in the State Department, headed by an Ambassador-at-Large. That office is responsible for issuing a report on religious freedom and persecution in all foreign countries by September 1 of each year. On the basis of that report, the State Department designates “countries of particular concern” for their “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of religious liberty. The law identifies the wide range of diplomatic and economic tools that the President can apply to those countries. To assist the President, the law recommended creation of a special advisor on international religious freedom as part of the National Security Council staff. The law also created the Commission on International Religious Freedom and required it to issue an annual report each May 1. The Commission expires in September 2011.