US and EU agree on push for religious freedom

US and EU agree on push for religious freedom


Published on 09 May 2018

– D.C. policy briefing with Brownback, Figel’, and international experts

– Presentation of white paper on anti-conversion laws worldwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (9.5.2018)

How should we counter the steady rise of religious persecution of Christians and other religious minorities around the world? On 8 May, ADF International joined the Policy Briefing on the Global Crisis in Religious Freedom with Ambassador Samuel Brownback, and EU Special Envoy Ján Figel’. Together with international experts they discussed appropriate steps for a change in the global “religious climate.”

“No person or group should live in fear of being killed, tortured, or oppressed because of their religious beliefs. The rise of anti-conversion laws worldwide testifies to a growing crisis in religious freedom,” said Balakrishnan Baskaran, Legal Consultant to ADF International in India. During the briefing, he addressed the situation of religious minorities in Asia.

UN Counsel for ADF International Meghan Grizzle Fischer researched and wrote the white paper Anti-Conversion Laws and the International Response, which was presented at the event. In the run up to the briefing Grizzle Fischer said: “The freedom to change religions is central to the fundamental right to freedom of religion. Yet India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan impermissibly restrict this freedom through anti-conversion laws that target religious minorities. United Nations entities tasked with promoting human rights have failed in their responsibility to protect religious minorities and must redirect their focus to the protection of core human rights.”

Change of religious climate needed

The International Catholic Legislator’s Network and the Religious Freedom Institute brought together international experts in order to discuss “The Global Crisis in Religious Freedom: State of Play and Recommendations.”

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback highlighted the importance of the right to religious freedom: “This administration wants to see something happen with regard to religious freedom. Climate change was the focus of the last administration, and it was indoctrinated into all policies. Religious freedom will be the same for this administration. We need to push everywhere for religious freedom.”

E.U. Special Envoy Ján Figel’ expressed concern and hope: “The spiritual dimension of our lives should be something sacred. Unfortunately, it has been forgotten and abandoned. Currently, we see many negative trends and the concept of religious freedom is in crisis. Therefore, we need a global agreement on a ‘religious climate’ change. We need to define these negative trends so that we can work together to reverse them. This year we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. My hope is that it will inspire us to create a more humane society with more respect for religious freedom worldwide.”

2018 Persecution Relief News
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