BLOG POST: Rich History of IRF Act Captured in a Single Volume



Long-time religious freedom champion Katrina Lantos Swett offers remarks at the release of new IRFA historical retrospective

By Erin Rodewald // December 13, 2018

In the fall of 1998, members of Congress made a deliberate and unanimous choice to stand as beacons for the most fundamental of all human rights — freedom of religion or belief. Passage of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) came after months of debate and resulted in a law that has driven considerable human rights initiatives around the world for the past two decades while also codifying the first freedom as a top priority within U.S. foreign policy.

In this 20th anniversary year, human rights organization  21Wilberforce embarked on a legacy project that would commemorate and capture the achievements of this landmark legislation. The result is The 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective, introduced this week at an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

For the first time, valuable IRFA source documents, personal recollections, and scholarly materials from the past 20 years have been collected and thoughtfully archived in a singular place with a succinct timeline. Included are candid conversations and observations culled from more than 55 interviews with prominent international religious freedom stakeholders, from elected officials and foreign policy experts to human rights advocates and academics. Continue reading