Sam Brownback, the U.S Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, said: “We will build alliances around the world to resist religious persecution and witness its end. Together, we will defeat this evil!” Just recently, delegations from more than 80 countries and more than 40 ministerial officials attended the first Ministerial Conference for Religious Freedom organized by the U.S Department of State. This includes many representatives from human rights organizations and also faith groups.
— ANCA (@ANCA_DC) July 23, 2018
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Mr. Brownback added: “I saw some Falun Gong practitioners gathering in Washington, D.C. in June of this year to commemorate the anniversary of the sad and painful persecution in China. I hope they continue to stand up bravely for the faith and freedom to practice. I also hope that more people around the world agree with the view that mankind needs freedom.”
On the same day, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Ministerial Conference for Religious Freedom will continue to be held next year.
Many thanks to @SecPompeo and @IRF_Ambassador for organizing the first ever Ministerial Conference to Advance Religious Freedom and to @VP Mike Pence for his powerful speech. Poland has joined dozens of countries supporting religious freedom as a fundamental human right. pic.twitter.com/dL33PEEoch— Piotr Wilczek 🇵🇱 (@AmbWilczek) July 26, 2018
In 1998, the United States passed the International Religious Freedom Act. Since 1999, the U.S. Department of State releases an annual report on international religious freedom. China has been classified as being among the “countries of particular concern (CPC), due to its violation of religious freedom for 19 consecutive years. On May 29, 2018, the U.S. Department of State released the “International Religious Freedom Report.” In it, China is again designated as being among the CPCs.
A case of religious persecution
The Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong has been going on for 19 years. Over these 19 years, Jiang Zemin’s so-called gangster group has been using all kinds of tactics to destroy the reputation, drain the finances, and eliminate the physical bodies of tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners.
Several million practitioners have been kidnapped, illegally detained, sent to labor camps to be brainwashed, and even tortured to death or killed for their organs during illegal organ harvesting. Several million families have been persecuted and their homes torn apart.
The partaking members of the ministerial further addressed the challenges that need to be overcome in order to identify concrete ways to address religious persecution and discrimination in order to ensure greater respect for religious freedom for everyone.
Among the attendees were also 25 members of civil society groups, including religious leaders and survivors of religious persecution, who told their stories and shared their experiences, with the goal of forming a unity “on a path to greater religious freedom in our societies.”
Role of the government
Both government and international organization representatives present committed to promoting Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, focusing on ways to identify global challenges to religious freedom, and developing ways to respond to persecution on the basis of religion, while also refreshing their commitment to ending religious persecution and protecting religious freedom for everyone.