Man3:    [IB] Do you follow up with the reports or you just write them then leave it?  And also does the US government push the countries under which to change and learn from these nations to move forward and have some more freedom.

Knox Thames:    Our report, I think, only has benefit if people see our recommendations, consider them and implement them.  I joke about with our staff about if our report falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it doesn’t make a noise, and so right now it’s still fresh, they’ll release first this month were out talking to the State Department to NSC, also engaging embassies here in town because they are part of the policy community on our recommendations.  And you know, we’re talking with foreign embassies, we’re clear that we’re not diplomats.  Diplomacies left the State Department that we are this advisory buddy, thus doing research and we appreciate your views on our chapters.  So we’re pushing it constantly, we are engaging as many people entities as possible.  Your second question was…

Man3:    Will the US government push…

Knox Thames:    Oh yeah.  Yes they do but it’s often a country by country and ambassador by ambassador.  So to use Tajikistan again, we have a very good ambassador in Tajikistan who’s very interested in religious freedom.  So she has been very engaged on the legislation that recently passed and urging the Tajiks to listen to the international community and to not implement these negative provisions.  Pakistan is the other extreme.  They have very good ambassador there but, you know, we have many interest in Pakistan.  You know, there’s the fighting on the Swat Valley, we’ve got the border areas next to Afghanistan, we’ve got the nuclear proliferation concerns, we’ve got humanitarian concerns, and you know the case we’re making is, in a country like Pakistan, if you want to get out the religious extremism, you need to address religious freedom because it’s a human right that touches on so many other human rights, freedom of association, freedom of expression.  If you let them pass the blasphemy law as target at religious practice but it’s also used to limit free speech and independent thinking and really has a detrimental effect on civil society.  But that’s a tough case to make in Pakistan because there are so much going on, there seems to be one crisis after another.  So our engagement varies but it’s something, I think, all Americans can be proud about that at every American embassy there is a foreign service officer whose job is to follow human rights and that includes religious freedom.  I’m aware of no other country in the world that’s made that kind of commitment to following human rights globally and if you have contacts in other countries, you should refer them to those Foreign Service officers because they’re out there wanting to meet people to gather information so they can put them in to the State Department reports.  So there’s always added mechanism but the level of engagement will depend on the bilateral relationship and what’s going on domestically but there certainly is past practice of having our embassies engaged on draft legislation and issues of concern, [IB] of conscience, things like that.

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