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US to Create Global Body on Religious Freedom

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on July 18, 2019 that the United States will create a new global body on religious freedom.

Speaking at a religious freedom gathering, Pompeo revealed that the group will be called International Religious Freedom Alliance. He said, “It will provide a space for the work that we do here to flourish throughout the year and, importantly, it will defend the unalienable rights of all human beings to believe, or not to believe, whatever it is that they choose,” reports online news website, Rappler.

It will defend the unalienable rights of all human beings to believe, or not to believe, whatever it is that they choose. —Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

Representatives from 106 countries gathered for the Second Annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. from July 15-19. Religious and civic leaders, activists, and foreign delegations came to the ministerial-level meeting to promote religious freedom and highlight global religious persecution.

Vice President Mike Pence remarked, “We’re gathered here, 106 nations strong, because we believe in the freedom of conscience—the right of all people to live out their lives according to their deeply held religious beliefs.”

Pompeo denounced China for turning a blind eye to the violence against religious minorities. Reports abound about how Beijing implemented actions to oppress Christians and other religious communities. Recently, a senior Chinese official vowed to “sinicize” the country and eradicate all religions unregistered with the Communist Party, reports Eurasia Review.

“Under sinicization, all religions and believers must comport with and aggressively promote communist ideology —or else,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).

To address the ongoing religious persecution, Pompeo said the State Department has “trained nearly 12,000 employees on how to identify religious discrimination and persecution and how to work closely with faith leaders all across the world.” This is in accordance with a 2016 law requiring foreign service officers to train on international religious freedom.

In addition, Pompeo said a fund has been set up to aid victims of persecution. He disclosed that the fund has helped victims and survivors of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

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