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Major US Initiative Could Spark New Era of Expanding Religious Freedom

Last week may have marked an inflection point for international religious freedom.

Historically, governments that strongly protect religious freedom have been a rarity. It is no small thing, then, that essentially all countries are now willing at least to pay lip service to the idea, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that religious freedom is a universal and fundamental human right.

But the gap between what countries say about religious freedom and what they actually do is often depressingly immense.

In this context, last week’s first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department was truly historic. The U.S. government organized and hosted the meeting, bringing together 80 countries and roughly 400 civil society and religious leaders.

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