The Philippines enshrines freedom of religion as a fundamental human right and guarantees the liberty to profess and adhere to religious beliefs, practices, and convictions without unreasonable restrictions.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Ernesto Abella made this pitch during the virtual staging of the Third Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief co-hosted by the United States and Poland on Nov. 16-17, 2020.
Abella noted, in particular, the active participation of religious minorities in the mainstream of national life and the Philippines’ advocacy of interfaith dialogues in multilateral, regional, and domestic forums as a vital tool to advance and protect religious liberty.
This is the third year that Abella has participated in the annual gathering hosted since then by the US State Department.
The DFA undersecretary thanked Poland for organizing the conference that enabled participants to share views and practices on how to advance the fundamental freedom of religion or belief and protect religious minorities.
The international meeting gathered high-level officials from 60 States and International Organizations, including ministers of foreign affairs, deputy foreign ministers, and special envoys for freedom of religion.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to three thematic sessions on the freedom of religion or belief and its links to security, human rights, gender equality, and sustainable development.
Civil society, international, religious and non-government organizations representatives discussed how international cooperation among entities committed to advancing freedom of religion or belief could move forward especially in these challenging times of a pandemic.
The participants called for a worldwide commitment to protect and promote freedom of religion or belief through concrete initiatives where coordinated and joint action could be explored.
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