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Obama passes law to appoint special envoy in Asia

August 09, 2014 13:02 IST

United States President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill which calls for appointing a special envoy near East and South Central Asia to promote freedom of religious minorities.

In a statement, the White House said the "Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act," authorises the president to appoint a special envoy to promote freedom of religious minorities in the near East and South Central Asia. The special envoy carries the rank of that of an ambassador.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on July 25 and the Senate passed it on July 29.

The bill requires the special envoy to promote the right of religious freedom of religious minorities in the countries of the near East and South Central Asia, denounce the violation of such right, and recommend appropriate US government responses to such violations.

It also requires the special envoy to monitor and combat acts of religious intolerance and incitement targeted against such religious minorities; and ensure that the needs of such religious minority communities are addressed, including economic and security needs directly tied to religious-based discrimination and persecution.

 The bill requires the special envoy to work with foreign governments of such countries to address inherently discriminatory laws.

Obama signed the bill on a day on which his military launched targeted military strikes against Islamist forces and humanitarian aid mission for the thousands of religious minorities trapped on a hill top in Iraq.

Image: US President Barack Obama

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