Most of the world’s population do not enjoy religious freedom even though most people are religious, the US religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback told the UN.
Brownback was addressing the UN for the first time since becoming ambassador, speaking at a panel discussion on global religious freedom strategies.
He said, ‘Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in a religiously restricted atmosphere. Eighty per cent of the world is religious. How can we tolerate this continuing situation?
‘We need a global movement of religious freedom. The good news: one has started, and it’s starting here today. We can’t just keep talking. We have to do something and it has to have carrots and teeth associated with it’.
Kelsey Zorzi, President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom at ADF International co-hosted the event.
He said, ‘Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. We are glad to host this event and broaden the discussion on this pressing issue.
‘There has been a global increase in the disregard for the fundamental right to religious freedom in recent years, including harassment, violence, and even genocide.
‘It is vital that the international community begins to actively counter this. This has to start with each state ensuring that their laws, as well as social practices, are in line with their commitments to religious freedom under international law’.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International, said: ‘This event comes at a crucial time as little has been done to uphold religious freedom.
‘We have documented these shortcomings in the white paper, The UN’s Failure to Promote and Protect Religious Freedom.
‘It is time the UN and individual nations begin to act on their commitments under international law and protect the fundamental freedoms of religious minorities’.