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22 U.S. Code § 6402 - Definitions

In this chapter:
(1) Ambassador at Large

The term “Ambassador at Large” means the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom appointed under section 6411(b) of this title.

(2) Annual Report

The term “Annual Report” means the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom described in section 6412(b) of this title.

(3) Appropriate congressional committeesThe term “appropriate congressional committees” means—
the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives; and
in the case of any determination made with respect to the taking of President [1] action under paragraphs (9) through (15) of section 6445(a) of this title, the term includes the committees described in subparagraph (A) and, where appropriate, the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate.
(4) Commensurate action

The term “commensurate action” means action taken by the President under section 6445(b) of this title.

(5) Commission

The term “Commission” means the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom established in section 6431(a) of this title.

(6) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

The term “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” means the annual reports required to be submitted by the Department of State to Congress under sections 2151n(d) and 2304(b) of this title.

(7) Executive Summary
(8) Government or foreign government

The term “government” or “foreign government” includes any agency or instrumentality of the government.

(9) Human Rights Reports

The term “Human Rights Reports” means all reports submitted by the Department of State to Congress under sections 2151n and 2304 of this title.

(10) Institution of higher education

The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given that term in section 1001 of title 20.

(11) Non-state actorThe term “non-state actor” means a nonsovereign entity that—
exercises significant political power and territorial control;
is outside the control of a sovereign government; and
often employs violence in pursuit of its objectives.
(12) Office

The term “Office” means the Office on International Religious Freedom established in section 6411(a) of this title.

(13) Particularly severe violations of religious freedomThe term “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including violations such as—
torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
prolonged detention without charges;
causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons; or
other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.
(14) Special Adviser

The term “Special Adviser” means the Special Adviser to the President on International Religious Freedom described in section 3021(i) of title 50.[2]

(15) Special Watch List
(16) Violations of religious freedomThe term “violations of religious freedom” means violations of the internationally recognized right to freedom of religion and religious belief and practice, as set forth in the international instruments referred to in section 6401(a)(2) of this title and as described in section 6401(a)(3) of this title, including violations such as—
(A) arbitrary prohibitions on, restrictions of, or punishment for—
assembling for peaceful religious activities such as worship, preaching, and prayer, including arbitrary registration requirements;
speaking freely about one’s religious beliefs;
changing one’s religious beliefs and affiliation;
not professing a particular religion, or any religion;
possession and distribution of religious literature, including Bibles; or
raising one’s children in the religious teachings and practices of one’s choice; or
any of the following acts if committed on account of an individual’s conscience, non-theistic views, or religious belief or practice: detention, interrogation, imposition of an onerous financial penalty, forced labor, forced mass resettlement, imprisonment, forced religious conversion, forcibly compelling non-believers or non-theists to recant their beliefs or to convert, beating, torture, mutilation, rape, enslavement, murder, and execution.

[1]  So in original. Probably should be “Presidential”.

[2]  See References in Text note below.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 105–292, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2787, known as the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6401 of this title and Tables.

Section 3021(i) of title 50, referred to in par. (14), was redesignated section 3021(k) by Pub. L. 110–53, title XVIII, § 1841(g)(1), Aug. 3, 2007, 121 Stat. 500.


2016—Pars. (10) to (14). Pub. L. 114–281, § 3(2), (3), added pars. (10) and (11) and redesignated former pars. (10) to (12) as (12) to (14), respectively. Former par. (13) redesignated (16).

Par. (15). Pub. L. 114–281, § 3(4), added par. (15).

Par. (16). Pub. L. 114–281, § 3(1), redesignated par. (13) as (16).

Par. (16)(A)(iv) to (vi). Pub. L. 114–281, § 3(5)(A), added cl. (iv) and redesignated former cls. (iv) and (v) as (v) and (vi), respectively.

Par. (16)(B). Pub. L. 114–281, § 3(5)(B), inserted “conscience, non-theistic views, or” after “an individual’s” and “forcibly compelling non-believers or non-theists to recant their beliefs or to convert,” after “forced religious conversion,”.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Change of Name

Committee on International Relations of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Foreign Affairs of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 6, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Jan. 5, 2007.

Committee on Banking and Financial Services of House of Representatives abolished and replaced by Committee on Financial Services of House of Representatives, and jurisdiction over matters relating to securities and exchanges and insurance generally transferred from Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Jan. 3, 2001.