DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     May 14, 1998     vol. 9, no. 94

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The Clinton administration told a Senate committee on Tuesday that a proposed religious freedom law would interfere with diplomacy and could cause increased religious persecution.

          Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor John Shattuck told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that while the administration remains committed to the promotion of religious freedom the proposed legislation would tie their hands in all situations. The bill sponsored by Sens. Don Nickles, R-Oklahoma, and Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut, that would set up an annual review and sanctions programs for countries deemed to practice religious discrimination.

          The measure would also create a special White House adviser on religious persecution and establish in the State Department the post of ambassador-at-large for religious liberty. It also would establish a US Commission on International Religious Liberty. It is similar to a bill being considered in the US House, but doesn't include automatic sanctions against countries that persecute religions.

          But Shattuck told the panel the administration was concerned that even the Senate bill's "sanctions-oriented approach" could undermine efforts to bring about improvements voluntarily. "We also believe that sanctions could have an adverse impact on our diplomacy in places like the Middle East and South Asia," he said.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 14, 1998       volume 9, no. 94


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