Approximately 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted, or banned. On September 23, President Donald J. Trump led the United Nations Event on Religious Freedom, where he issued a global call to condemn religious persecution and defend the freedom of all believers.
President Trump said, “Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution. To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed, America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.”
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo also participated in the event and invited governments, faith leaders, and civil society to join the International Religious Freedom Alliance. The foundation of the alliance is Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.” Secretary Pompeo described the the alliance as the “most ambitious human rights project launched in a generation,” which the State Department announced in July 2019 during the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.
Eleven survivors of religious persecution traveled to New York City for the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, and three of the survivors shared their stories at this event. Several of the survivors had also attended the 2019 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. After the survivors shared their stories, Secretary Pompeo encouraged the international community to join us in advancing and protecting religous freedom.
To learn more about U.S. efforts to advance religious freedom, go to the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom webpage.
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