“The United States has a deep and abiding commitment to protecting and promoting religious freedom for all people everywhere,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the civil society organized and led International Religious Freedom Summit in June.
“Freedom of religion is a human right. We know the world is safer and more stable when people have the chance to practice their faith freely and to contribute their fullest selves to their community success."
One of the ways the State Department promotes the freedom of religion or belief abroad is through the Office of International Religious Freedom. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain engages with foreign governments, members of religious minority groups, civil society advocates, and religious leaders to advance cooperation, mutual respect, and inclusion.
In March, Secretary Blinken determined that members of Burma's military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya, who are predominantly Muslim. He also recognized the atrocities against members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Burma.
Another way the State Department brings attention to religious freedom trends is through its annual International Religious Freedom Report. This year’s report noted the rise of antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, and attacks on members of religious minority groups and people who choose not to believe. Secretary Blinken stressed that the State Department will continue to speak up about threats, attacks, and discrimination wherever they occur and will look to civil society as a partner in promoting religious freedom:
“We can't do this work without our partners across civil society. They lift up the voices of those suffering from persecution. They open our eyes to atrocities and abuses on the ground, and they offer support, shelter, a safe haven to practice their faith openly or a platform to speak up to those suffering.”
Secretary Blinken urged civil society groups who had convened and attended the IRF Summit to “keep partnering with [the United States] and with each other, especially across faiths and beliefs, to advance the cause of religious freedom. Keep documenting abuses as well as progress,” he added, “and keep holding governments like ours accountable to defend these rights. Our communities and our countries will be better off for [civil society] efforts.”