On the International Day Commemorating Survivors of Religious Persecution, we recognize that individuals around the world are harassed, threatened, beaten, imprisoned, and killed for exercising their beliefs. In some cases, governments have used COVID-19 as a pretext to target members of religious groups, members of civil society, opposition voices, and marginalized communities. This day serves as a reminder of the collective need to protect freedom of religion or belief for all and hold state actors to account when they fail to do so.
This is why the United States continues to prioritize efforts to promote universal respect for freedom of religion or belief in our foreign policy. We maintain our support for global efforts to combat challenges to freedom of religion or belief, including in forums like the International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. We advocate for victims of religiously-motivated violence and attacks alongside like-minded partners in the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance. The U.S. Congress also annually directs $20 million in spending to promote freedom of religion or belief globally, including funding for efforts to reduce government and societal constraints on freedom of religion or belief.
On this day, we reiterate the responsibility all governments have to protect people from harm regardless of their beliefs and renew our pledge to stand up for the world’s persecuted.