Pompeo: Attacks on religious freedom are attacks on human rights

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During a conference in Poland on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the importance of religious freedom, which he said is under attack across the globe.

“Attacks on religious freedom are in effect attacks on one of the most fundamental of human rights,” declared Pompeo at the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief which was meant to take place in Warsaw on Nov. 16-17 but is taking place online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the conference was opened by Pompeo and the Polish Foreign Minister professor Zbigniew Rau.

The head of US diplomacy told participants that the conference brings together different nations and traditions which are committed to the fundamental dignity of all human beings, believers and non-believers.

Pompeo said Poland was a partner of the US in building an alliance for the freedom of worship and conscience. He added that regrets that attacks on religion are taking place across the globe.

Rau also underlined that freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, many people, particularly those belonging to religious minorities, are experiencing violations of this fundamental right, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made this problem worse, said the Polish minister.

In China, they are directed against Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and the Falun Gong. Iran has been detaining members of religious minorities and North Korea has been submitting believers to torture and executing them for even for possessing the Bible.

But Pompeo noted that luckily there are also successes in the quest for religious freedom such as dialogue and civil society engagement in defending faiths. He appealed for continued effort at ensuring guarantees that all people enjoy religious freedom and offering a voice to the victims of persecution of faith all over the world.

US ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher thanked Poland and its ministry of foreign affairs for organizing the conference.

The Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief is attended by representatives of almost 60 states and international organizations, including ministers of foreign affairs, deputy foreign ministers, and special envoys for freedom of religion.

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