Major U.S. and British Government-Sponsored Summits Defend Global Religious Freedom

August 12, 2022

RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson recently authored an article for Providence titled, “Major U.S. and British Government-Sponsored Summits Defend Global Religious Freedom.” Patterson writes:

Religious freedom is a fundamental human right that is closely associated with economic flourishing, political stability, and international security. Unfortunately, authoritarian regimes—from Tehran to Beijing to Caracas—violate the religious freedom of individuals and religious institutions every single day. Christians often feel impotent in addressing global persecution. But there is hope. As Arielle Del Turco wrote in this magazine, there are tools that governments can use to defend and promote religious liberty. Moreover, two major international conferences in recent weeks, held in Washington and London, brought together thousands of religious freedom advocates and government officials to cooperate in taking concrete action to end religious persecution.  

Over the past decade, despite the ‘Arab Spring’ and the quest for democracy and human rights in other parts of the world, statistics show that the world is less free than it was one decade ago. 75 percent of the world’s population live in countries that are entirely or  partially restrictive of religious freedom. Restrictions range from the outright persecution of the faithful in China and North Korea, to violent social ostracism of minority faiths in Pakistan, to targeting religio-ethnic identities in these and other places. The ethnic cleansing of Christians and Yazidis by ISIS in Iraq and Syria a decade ago; and more recently the genocidal policies against Uighurs in China and the Rohingya in Myanmar are cases in point. Another dramatic killing zone is Nigeria, where more Christians have been massacred annually for the past three years than anywhere else in the world. Nigeria is particularly worrisome: in the north, Boko Haram and Islamic State operate with impunity; increasing violence in the middle belt of the country has resulted in over 3,000 Christian deaths annually in recent years.

Read the full article: “Major U.S. and British Government-sponsored Summits Defend Global Religious Freedom.”