At Patriot Voices, we believe that advocating for religious freedom should be a key part of our country’s foreign policy. In the United States, we are fortunate to have the Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and religion. We can’t call upon the Constitution to defend rights of those in other countries, but we instinctively know that all people deserve the same rights we enjoy.
Internationally, the bar is set with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by 48 countries in 1948. It says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Fortunately, the Trump Administration has made international religious freedom a priority. They hosted their first Ministerial in 2018 on religious freedom with over 80 Foreign Ministers attending. Another Ministerial at the State Department is planned for July of 2019.
Patriot Voices Executive Director, Nadine Maenza, has been appointed by President Trump to serve on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). As a bi-partisan independent government agency, they monitor religious freedom conditions abroad and make recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. The Commissioners are appointed by the President and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress.
Commissioners also adopt Prisoners of Conscience and advocate for their release. Recently, Pastor Andrew Brunson was released from prison in Turkey after advocacy from USCIRF Commissioners. You can read about his release here.
Learn about USCIRF here.
Learn about Nadine Maenza’s Prisoners of Conscience here.
Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.
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