Survivors of Religious Persecution Declare Religious Freedom a Fundamental Human Right

[TEXT: Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom] [TEXT: These are survivors of religious persecution.] The right of an individual to act consistently with his or
her conscience is at the heart of the human experience. But today, we are far from the ideal that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience,
and religion.” This right is under attack. Almost 80 percent of the global population reportedly
experiences severe limitations on this right. Persecution, repression and discrimination on the basis of religion, belief or nonbelief are a daily reality
for many. It is time to address these challenges directly. Every person everywhere has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience, and religion. Every person has the right to hold any faith or belief, or none at
all, and enjoy the freedom to change faith. Religious freedom is universal and inalienable, and states must
respect and protect this human right. Persons are equal based on their shared humanity. There should be no discrimination on account of a person’s religion
or belief. Everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law regardless of
religious affiliation or lack thereof. Citizenship or the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms should not depend on religious identification or heritage. Persons who belong to faith communities and nonbelievers alike have the right to participate freely in the public discourse of
their respective societies. A state’s establishment of an official religion or traditional faith
should not impair religious freedom or foster discrimination toward adherents of other religions or
nonbelievers. Defending the freedom of religion is the collective responsibility
of the global community. It is essential for achieving peace and stability within nations and
among nations. Where religious freedom is protected, other freedoms also flourish. Where these protections are absent, we find conflict, instability,
and terrorism. The freedom to live out one’s faith is a God-given human right
belonging to everyone. Governments cannot justly take it away. Rather, every nation shares the solemn responsibility to defend and
protect religious freedom. [TEXT: Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom]
[TEXT:] [TEXT: Produced by the U.S. Department of State]

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