NEW YORK 19 September – In the face of rising religious persecution of people on the grounds of faith or belief, parliamentarians from almost 50 countries concluded an unprecedented summit discussing ways to advance freedom of religion or belief for all.
Focused on concrete actions, the gathering resulted in the issuance of advocacy letters to the President of Burma, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, and the Speaker of Iran’s parliament. In addition, the parliamentarians signed the New York Resolution for Freedom of Religion or Belief, committing them to renewed action to promote this fundamental right.
The event was co-sponsored by the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), a network launched last year in response to the rising crisis of religious or belief-based persecution, both by terrorist groups and authoritarian governments. IPPFoRB is an alliance of parliamentarians committed to advancing religious freedom for all, as defined by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Other highlights included:
- Panels with leading parliamentarians and diplomats discussing how to advance freedom of religion or belief for all in the face of repression by ISIS and authoritarian governments.
- Discussions with religious leaders, including a cleric from Iran, a bishop from Nigeria, and a Buddhist leader from Japan.
- Hearing from family members of jailed believers in Iran: the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini and a relative of an imprisoned Baha’i leader.
Parliamentarians attending the meeting came from: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Brazil; Burma/Myanmar; Cambodia; Canada; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; Costa Rica; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; European Parliament; Georgia; Germany; Honduras; India; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Lithuania; Malawi; Malaysia; Mexico; Netherlands; Nigeria; Norway; Pakistan; Paraguay; Peru; Senegal; Serbia; South Africa; Sudan; Taiwan; Tunisia; United Kingdom; Uruguay.
The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) is an informal network of elected
parliamentarians and legislators from around the world committed to combatting religious persecution and advancing
freedom of religion or belief, as defined by Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights.