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Date: 29 May 2023
The U.S. Is Guardian of Religious Belief, Russia, China Violate Religious Practices
The U.S. Department of State just released its 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom, The report mentioned Russia and China as two countries that violated religious faith most. Twenty-five years ago, President Clinton signed the International Religious Freedom Act into law, declaring it a bedrock American belief. For the Joe Biden administration, democracy, including religious freedom, and human rights are core values that the United States seeks to protect across the globe.
“That gave us a range of new tools to give voice to the persecuted, to empower advocates, to promote religious freedom around the world. […] Religious freedom is also vital to stable, secure societies. When each person is respected for their beliefs, they are more empowered to reach their full potential, which in turn lifts entire communities and societies,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that followed the report.
The chief U.S. diplomat praised lawmakers in Belgium and Brazil for their efforts to expand religious freedom. He added Canada and the European Union both created new offices to combat Islamophobia, while Croatia appointed its first special advisor for combatting anti-Semitism.
In some countries, however, the document reported the rise of very troubling trends. Governments in many parts of the world continue to target religious minorities using a host of methods, including torture, beatings, unlawful surveillance, and so-called re-education camps.
In China, NGOs like the Campaign for Uyghurs and Uyghur Human Rights Project are documenting the genocide and crimes against humanity against predominately Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Human rights defenders are sounding the alarm on attacks on the Catholic Church in Nicaragua and religious minorities in Myanmar.
“We defend the right to believe or to not believe, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because of the extraordinary good that people of faith can do in our societies and around the world to promote peace, to care for the sick, to protect our planet, to expand opportunity for underserved communities, and so much more,” Blinken added.
He named Ambassador Rashad Hussin as a person leading U.S. efforts in that regard. He named Russia a country of particular concern for the second year in a row that continues to target faith communities within its borders and beyond.
“Brave people of faith in Russia who dare to speak against its brutal war against Ukraine are targeted for repression,” Hussein said.
Dawid Krupa is a fourth-year law student at the Faculty of Law and Administration at Warsaw University. He has worked with various cultural institutions such as the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Forum for Dialogue Foundation. His interests include national politics, international relations, religious studies and gardening.
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