The US State Department hosted the first-of-its-kind Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom conference from July 24-26, 2018. Participants in the conference were representatives from eighty countries, including foreign ministers, ambassadors, international organizations, religious leaders, and civil society. The stated mission of the Ministerial was to discuss challenges, identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.
In his welcoming remarks, Secretary of State Pompeo announced the U. S. Government’s pledge to provide an additional $17 million toward demining the Nineveh region in Iraq, home to a large population of religious minorities who were victims of the ISIS genocide.
Upcoming US initiative to support global religious freedom include:
- Creation of a new International Visitor Leadership Program, a ten-day project focusing on promoting religious pluralism and protecting the rights of religious minorities.
- In October, the State Department will host a three-day accelerator workshop called Boldline to support and scale innovative public-private partnerships that promote and defend religious freedom globally.
- To continue the work of the first Ministerial symposium, the US is finalizing commitments from several countries willing to host regional follow-up conferences on religious freedom.
- A release of the Potomac Declaration and the Potomac Plan of Action, asserting the US commitment to promoting and defending religious freedom.
During the summit’s opening session. the US Government also announced the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program “to rapidly deliver aid to persecuted communities, beginning with Iraq.” Additional coverage on the Ministerial summit is available in Crux Now – please click here