Blinken Highlights Global Religious Freedom Challenges in 2023 State Department Report

    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: June 27, 2024 (4 weeks ago)

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a significant address today, unveiling the 2023 International Religious Freedom Report at the State Department. His remarks underscored the United States’ ongoing commitment to promoting and protecting religious freedom worldwide amid escalating challenges and violations.

    Against a backdrop of increasing religious persecution and discrimination in various regions, Blinken emphasized the critical importance of upholding the universal right to religious freedom. The annual report, a comprehensive assessment of religious liberty across 199 countries and territories, highlighted both progress and setbacks in the global landscape of religious rights.

    “In every corner of the globe, people continue to face persecution and discrimination based on their beliefs,” Blinken stated solemnly, citing alarming trends of state-sponsored repression, societal intolerance, and violent extremism targeting religious minorities.

    The report detailed specific instances of religious persecution, including government restrictions on worship, blasphemy laws, and societal harassment against religious communities. Blinken condemned such abuses as affronts to human dignity and called for concerted international action to protect religious minorities and uphold freedom of conscience.

    “Religious freedom is not a privilege granted by any government; it is a fundamental human right inherent to every individual,” Blinken affirmed, urging nations to uphold their commitments under international law and safeguard religious diversity within their borders.

    The Secretary of State highlighted diplomatic efforts to engage with governments, civil society organizations, and religious leaders worldwide to promote tolerance, interfaith dialogue, and respect for religious rights. He praised countries that have made progress in protecting religious minorities and encouraged others to emulate their example.

    In response to media inquiries, Blinken reiterated the Biden administration’s stance on integrating religious freedom into broader foreign policy objectives, emphasizing the role of diplomacy in advancing human rights and democratic values globally.

    As the briefing concluded, Blinken emphasized the State Department’s commitment to monitoring religious freedom violations closely and holding accountable those responsible for persecution and discrimination based on religious beliefs. He called on the international community to join efforts in promoting religious pluralism and fostering environments where all individuals can practice their faith freely and without fear.

    Looking ahead, Blinken signaled the United States’ intent to continue advocating for religious freedom as a cornerstone of global stability and human dignity, reaffirming America’s leadership in championing this fundamental right on the world stage

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