November 8, 2014 – MP David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, today signed the Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief, which formally launched the International Coalition of Parliamentarians Committed to Religious Freedom, in Oslo, Norway.
“I am particularly honoured to be present as an active participant in this meeting of parliamentarians from around the world,” said Parliamentary Secretary Anderson. “Religious freedom is a basic human right that should exist everywhere in the world, whatever the predominant faith or belief in a given region. It is a freedom that speaks to human dignity, which we need to defend—especially in the face of increasing atrocities against so many religious communities around the world.”
The Office of Religious Freedom and the Government of Canada welcome the launch, which was also attended by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
“I welcome the formal creation of an international group of parliamentarians to advance and defend religious freedom in the world,” said Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom. “This initiative will strengthen the voice of oppressed communities worldwide and can rely on the support of the International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, a parallel Canadian-led initiative composed of foreign government representatives. The combined efforts of these two groups will strengthen our common fight against the persecution of religious minorities and will help promote religious freedom in the world.”
Canada congratulates the Government of Norway and all participants for this worthwhile gathering of parliamentarians from the world over to discuss how to jointly combat rising religious persecution and protect religious freedom globally.
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