Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Religious Freedom and Holocaust Envoys Escape State Department Cuts

In a move applauded by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has notified the Senate that he plans to pare down the number of Special Envoys in the State Department. According to CNN, Tillerson will eliminate or downgrade as many as 36 of the nearly 70 special envoy spots. However three special envoy offices will be expanded: those dealing with religious freedom, Holocaust issues and HIV/AIDS.

UPDATE: Here is the full text of Sec. Tillerson's letter to Sen. Corker. It details some of the changes as follows:
The Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF) will continue to be an ambassador-level position confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and will be organized under and report to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J). Additionally, IRF will assume the functions and staff of the U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs, U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia.