Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the United States is committed to combat intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.
“Now this year, the international community in the Human Rights Council made an important commitment. And it was really historic, because before then, we had seen the international community pit against one another freedom of religion and freedom of expression. And there were those in the international community who vigorously and passionately defended one but not the other.” – Ms. Clinton
She said the United States is hosting the conference because religious freedom and freedom of expression are among our highest values. He stressed they are enshrined in U.S. Constitution.
“For people everywhere, faith and religious practice is a central source of our identity. It provides our lives with meaning and context. It is fundamental to who we are. And as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear, each of us is born free to practice any religion, to change our religion, or to have none at all.” – Ms. Clinton
She stressed that no state may grant these freedoms as a privilege or take them away as a punishment if one believe that they are not rights bestowed by any government.
She emphasized that restricting the practice of anyone’s faith is a threat to the human rights of all individuals. She said communities of faith are not confined by geopolitical borders.
“Wherever you are in the world, there will certainly be people whose religious beliefs differ from your own, maybe by just a little bit or maybe by a lot. And my ability to practice my religious faith freely does not, and indeed cannot, diminish yours.” – Ms. Clinton