• Press Release

State Department Gathering on Religious Freedom Must Lead By Example

July 24, 2018

As the State Department hosts the first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Amnesty International USA urges the Trump Administration to examine its own policies of religious discrimination, while at the same time addressing religious persecution worldwide.

“Religious freedom is under attack in all corners of the world, which is why it’s more important than ever that the U.S. government lead by example,” said Joanne Lin, National Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at Amnesty International USA. “We recognize the significance of the State Department promoting religious freedom abroad. However, any genuine commitment to religious freedom requires this administration to look at itself in the mirror.  From the beginning, this administration has shown disdain for inclusive policies by singling out visitors and refugees from Muslim-majority countries for exclusion.

“Even though many refugees are persecuted because of their faith, this administration has doubled down on its discriminatory policies by slashing funds for refugees and humanitarian assistance. In order for the U.S. to be a global leader on religious freedom, it must stop persecuting Muslims here at home, while working to halt religious persecution abroad. The administration must embrace the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment and honor our country’s long, proud history as a haven for refugees from around the world.”

The ministerial will be held July 24-25 and will include government officials, survivors of persecution, religious leaders, and members of civil society. Earlier this year, Amnesty International USA sent a letter to State Department officials about the need to protect religious minorities including Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Baha’i in Yemen, and millions of refugees fleeing religious persecution.