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<-Back to WTN Archives U.S. Urged to Press Harder on Religious Freedom
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World Tibet Network News

Wednesday, January 28, 1998



2. U.S. Urged to Press Harder on Religious Freedom


WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - A government advisory panel on Friday urged
the United States to do more to promote religious freedom worldwide,
including making it a criteria for arms sales, aid and granting asylum to
refugees.

The panel, called the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, said in
a interim report that President Clinton should deliver a major speech
explaining the importance of religious freedom and give this issue ``enhanced
importance'' in foreign policy decision making.

``The State Department and other relevant U.S. government agencies should
pay special attention to the status of religious freedom as a human rights
concern when considering arms sales, military assistance or economic aid,''
it recommended.

American trade delegations should highlight the issue by discussing human
rights, including the importance of religious freedoms, with religious and
other nongovernmental groups on their trips overseas, the panel said.

Among a host of other suggestions, the group also said that government
officials who deal with asylum requests should be made more sensitive to
religious persecution in other countries and U.S. immigration law should be
modified ``to ensure against the return of victims of religious
persecution.''

The panel was established in November 1996 by then Secretary of State Warren
Christopher in response mainly to Christian groups who felt the United States
was not giving enough attention to religious intolerance and religious
persecution overseas.

Another motivation was to bring about reconciliation in conflict areas,
especially where religion is a factor as in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

The panel met twice in 1997 and has conferred with more than 40 experts
including Pope John Paul II, currently making a landmark visit to Cuba, the
Dalai Lama, Cardinal Cahal Daly of Northern Ireland and Pastor Robert Fu of
China.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Scorcese's Kundun: the cinema of images
  2. U.S. Urged to Press Harder on Religious Freedom
  3. Nepal WON'T Allow Activities against China on Its Territory: PM
  4. Guerrilla past keeps Brazilian author from U.S. film premiere



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