U.S. int'l religious freedom interest downgraded to special 'advisor' from 'envoy' - 2015-10-14
International religious freedom now has its own "special advisor" -- which reports to an ambassador, rather than a "special envoy" which reports to the Secretary of State, the White House has announced. And Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) is challenging how that approach to key U.S. foreign policy objectives works -- especially since the "special envoy" position has been vacant for a while.
"The Administration has taken the position that 'promoting and protecting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy,'" the senator wrote in an open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, "yet the Ambassador-at-Large for religious freedom is buried in layers of bureaucracy rather than reporting directly to you like the Ambassadors-at-Large for the Office of Global Women's Issues and the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator."
A special envoy reports directly to Secretary Kerry, while a special advisor may report to an envoy or ambassador.