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Relationship Counseling for Federal Advocates of Religious Freedom

After last year's Turkey tiff, GAO wants State Department and USCIRF to patch things up.

Tensions between the top international religious freedom advocates in the American government–the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom and the United States' Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)–are longstanding. So the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined both groups and offers a new report with suggestions for fixing current problems.

The GAO concludes that the two bodies are both "implementing responsibilities but need to improve interaction." It found that their collaboration has "varied greatly" related to "disagreement over how they should work together," though the relationship has recently improved from its "previous low level" (thanks to new members of both bodies). The report notes:

"[T]he lack of a definition regarding how the two entities are to interact has created foreign policy tensions that State has had to mitigate. These tensions have resulted in part from the fact that the Ambassadors and USCIRF have not defined the ...
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