During his speech, the Secretary of State called on Russia to immediately release Paul Whelan
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday presented the State Department report on religious freedom around the world.
Opening the presentation ceremony, the Foreign Minister stressed the commitment of the United States and, in particular, the current administration, to the cause of upholding freedom of religion on the planet..
One of our virtues as an administration – commitment to protecting religious freedom around the world, Pompeo said.
In this regard, Pompeo referred to a recently signed presidential decree declaring the promotion of religious freedom a priority for the administration..
«Last week, President Trump signed the first-ever executive order directing the entire U.S. government to prioritize religious freedom.», – said the secretary of state.
Speaking of Americans held in several countries around the world, Pompeo called on Russia to immediately release Paul Whelan.
«He must be released immediately, – said the secretary of state. – Rest assured that [US Ambassador to Russia John] Sullivan and his team will continue to fight for Paul».
«The United States will also continue to focus on other human rights abuses committed by Moscow, – said the secretary of state. – Since 2015, Russia has drafted thousands of Crimeans into its armed forces and has introduced criminal penalties for those who dodge the draft. Russia must end its repression against those who oppose the occupation, release the unjustly deprived Ukrainians of their freedom, and return full control of the peninsula to Ukraine. Crimea – it is Ukraine».
Pompeo stressed that there is no country in the world that cares about the observance of religious freedom more than the United States.
Mike Pompeo Describing the situation with freedom of religion in various countries, the secretary of state noted that in China, the persecution on religious grounds is becoming more intense.
Focusing on the situation in Iran, Pompeo stressed the need for the immediate release by the authorities of this country of all Americans held in it..
Touching upon the situation in Libya, the Secretary of State recalled that neither Russia nor any other country should endanger Libyan sovereignty..
The head of the State Department noted that the United States will continue to support the people of Venezuela in their quest for freedom..
Let us remind you that the annual report on religious freedom in the world describes the situation with religious freedom in each country. The report describes government policy initiatives that violate the religious beliefs and practices of various faith groups and individuals, as well as US efforts to promote religious freedom worldwide..
The U.S. Department of State submits such reports to Congress in accordance with the World Religious Freedom Act 1998.
Secretary Pompeo’s Remarks on the 2019 International Religious Freedom Report | June 10, 2020
US Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback stated during the presentation that the situation with religious freedom in the world remains far from ideal.
Brownback, in particular, focused on the practice of suppressing religious freedom in China..
The section of the report on Russia notes that the persecution of the organization’s members continues in the country. «Jehovah witnesses», which was recognized «extremist». Russian authorities also continue to fine, detain and imprison members of other religious minorities and organizations, accusing them of extremism. In addition, the persecution of people continues in the framework of the so-called «package Yarovaya» – a set of laws passed in 2016 that specifically prohibit illegal missionary activities.
As of the end of 2019, human rights organization «Memorial» identified 245 people who were imprisoned for religious reasons. In 2018, this figure was lower – 177 people.
In December 2019, the Department of State again included Russia on a special watchlist, which includes countries where serious violations of religious freedom are committed..
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Pompeo promised to respond appropriately if the data on Russian awards to the Taliban is confirmed