U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement by Secretary Pompeo
August 22, 2019
Today we mark the first International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. This day serves as a reminder of the need to promote and protect the unalienable right of religious freedom, and the consequences when countries fail to do so.
Promoting freedom of religion or belief is a responsibility of the global community, and it is a key foreign policy priority for the Trump Administration. Persecution on account of religion continues to rise, especially in countries like China, Iran, and Burma. To address this challenge, I convened the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington last month. The largest event of its kind in the history of the State Department, it brought together more than a thousand members of civil society and religious communities, more than a hundred governments, and survivors of religious persecution from almost every faith community and none. Together, we sent a clear message across religious, political, and ethnic lines of a global commitment to fight persecution and promote religious freedom for all.
No one should face persecution on account of their faith, for changing beliefs, or switching their membership in a belief community. All governments have a duty to protect people from harm regardless of their beliefs, and to hold perpetrators of persecution accountable.