Secretary Mike Pompeo and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback kicked off the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department today. Following are some of the notable moments and quotes of the day:
“All people from every place on the globe must be permitted to practice their faith openly – in their homes, in their places of worship, in the public square – and believe what they want to believe.” — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
“We are voices from 130 nations and a wide variety of faith traditions, speaking for the rights of worshipers at home and far off lands.” — Mark Green, USAID Administrator
“My community and other religious minorities continue to feel lasting effects of genocide. 350,000 Yezidi are stranded in camps even now.” —Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Yezidi genocide survivor, and author
“Unless we are willing to speak out against violations of human rights and religious freedom in China, we lose all moral authority to talk about it in any other area of the world.” —Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
“Dear China, You are so strong. So why are you so scared to let people have their own beliefs?” Jewher Illam, advocate for 1 million Uyghur Muslims (including her father) unjustly imprisoned in Chinese internment camps
“Indifference, ignorance and fear are the drivers of human rights violations.” —Jan Figel, Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU
In the afternoon, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined former Congressman Frank Wolf and Ambassador Brownback for a discussion about the challenges of religious freedom in China. On Wednesday, Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to present the State Department’s first-ever International Religious Freedom Awards. Stay tuned here for updates from the Ministerial floor. You can also follow the action live on Twitter at @EDRodewald.