News Brief

'Concerning Increase In Anti-Conversion Laws, Hate Speech In India': Secretary Of State Blinken On US Religious Freedom Report

Kuldeep Negi

Jun 27, 2024, 06:15 PM | Updated 06:15 PM IST

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Source: AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Source: AP)

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has flagged "concerning increase" in the anti-conversion laws, and alleged hate speech in India.

Releasing the 2023 Report on International Religious Freedom on Wednesday (26 June), Blinken said, “Today, governments around the world continue to target individuals, shutter places of worship, forcibly displace communities, and imprison people because of their religious beliefs".

On India, Blinken remarked, “In India, we see a concerning increase in anti-conversion laws, hate speech, demolitions of homes and places of worship for members of minority faith communities.”

He also noted a rise in hate crimes and incidents targeting Muslims and Jews in the United States.

The annual publication by the US State Department examines threats to religious freedom in nearly 200 countries.

It pointed out how blasphemy laws in Pakistan foster a climate of intolerance and hatred, often leading to vigilante and mob violence.

Additionally, the report also noted that several European countries have laws that effectively ban certain forms of religious attire in public.

Blinked said the United States will continue to stand with its "partners and work to advance religious freedom across the globe". 

"Since 2021, we’ve dedicated more than $100 million to this effort.  We’ve supported initiatives to prevent religious-based violence.  We’ve provided legal assistance to people who are facing religious persecution.  We’ve trained thousands of human rights defenders who are helping to document abuses.  We’ve also continued hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to support those fleeing religious oppression," he added.

Biden added that the US recently launched a "new initiative to train diplomats, train officials from other countries who are advocating for religious freedom". 

"We will stay focused on protecting religious freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of belief everywhere it needs protection," he added.

Also Read: Gujarat: Smritivan Earthquake Memorial Museum In Kutch Nominated For Prestigious UNESCO Award

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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