FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Human Rights and Religious Freedom, is inviting parliamentarians and all Canadians to recognize International Religious Freedom Day on October 27th.
“Three quarters of the world’s population live without the absolute freedom to believe,” said Anderson. “In Canada and worldwide, we are seeing increased pressure on freedom for faith and belief. This day was born out of a need for lawmakers to speak out, stand up and do more for persecuted religious minorities.”
Anderson noted that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) serves as a benchmark for freedom of religion or belief. It states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
“We need to protect every faith community in our country,” continued Anderson. “Religious freedom is directly tied to democratic rights. As we have learned time after time, a decline in one of these rights inevitably leads to a decline in the other. Religious freedom is central to peace and democracy.”
Anderson noted that there are parliamentarians around the world supporting the UDHR. These leaders are reaching out to affected minorities on the ground and are working to remove restraints on religious freedom.
International Religious Freedom Day is observed globally on the anniversary of the signing-into-law of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
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