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first time, the nations of the world agreed to make a declaration against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.

These persecutions will not stop because the U.N. has adopted a document. It is not a perfect instrument, but there is now a clear standard to be applied when public or private appeals are made to governments. The declaration provides that everyone should have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, or whatever the belief of his or her choice, and should not be subject to coercion that would impair individual freedom. It further provides that no person shall be subject to intolerance or discrimination by any state, institution, group or individual on religious grounds.

One thing is certain: Religious persecution never will be checked unless someone takes the time to monitor and expose what is going on and governments are held accountable.

It is unlikely that the United States can end religious persecution, but we can make the issue an integral part of our foreign policy. If America is to remain faithful to her past and the values inherent in those documents that formed this great democracy, then we must stand for religious freedom and human rights in the many countries that still abuse their citizens. Religious freedom is synonymous with the protection and promotion of human rights.

As governments deny their citizens basic fundamental freedoms and human rights, organized religion is often the last hope. Inevitably when it speaks out against injustice, organized religion becomes the victim of state repression.

The importance of religious freedom as a human right is seen clearly when parliaments are closed, political parties disbanded, trade unions outlawed, or the courts rendered useless. Churches, synagogues, mosques and pagodas often provide the last remaining place of refuge for people to stand together for justice.

I would urge all to read this volume which clearly indicates the issue of religious persecution. It demands our attention and that of all the members of the international community. We must speak out because of the needs of the victims. We must speak out because of our feeling of compassion, and we must speak out because it is our duty to send an unmistakable signal to the principal offenders that they will be checked and stopped. The Bible speaks plainly about this subject. Jesus said of the victims of persecution, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake ..."






December 14, 1982:

Hon. Jerome Shestack, former Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on

Human Rights ......

Tom Johnson, U.S. Mission to the U.N., U.N. Economic and Social Coun-


Sidney Liskofsky, director, International Organizations, American Jewish





Letter dated February 4, 1982 to Leonid Brezhnev, President, U.S.S.R., from

80 Members of the House of Representatives regarding the emigration of

the Vashchenko and Chmykhalov families from the Soviet Union..

Letter dated February 4, 1982 to President Reagan from 80 Members of the

House of Representatives regarding the Vashchenko and Chmykhalov fami-


Letter dated November 1, 1981 to the Society of Americans for Vashchenko

emigration from the Vashchenko family

Statement by the Society of Americans for Vashchenko Emigration, Jane

Drake, spokesman

Letter dated January 6, 1982 to Leonid Brezhnev, President, and Andrei

Gromyko, Foreign Minister, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from the

Vashchenko family regarding emigration.....

Statement by David A. Harris, director, Washington office, National Confer-

ence on Soviet Jewry

Article entitled "In Many Places It's Still Dangerous to Believe," published in

United Presbyterian A.D., April 1981.

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimi-

nation Based on Religion or Belief as adopted by the Third Committee of

the General Assembly November 9, 1981..

Letter dated January 15, 1982 to Most Rev. Thomas C. Kelly, U.S. Catholic

Conference, from Jeremiah Brennan, regional supervisor of Maryknoll in

Chile, regarding actions by the Chilean Government to expel priests, reli-

gious, and lay persons

Text of H. Con. Res. 249, condemning religious persecution and bigotry as an

official policy or practice of national governments

Statement by Hon. Edward Derwinski, a Representative from the State of

Illinois, regarding H. Con. Res. 249 and the persecution of the Baha'is in


Letter dated February 15, 1979 to Hon. Edward Derwinski from Glenford

Mitchell, secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the

United States.

Letter dated June 26, 1981 to Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the

United Nations, from Hon. Edward Derwinski and Hon. Dan Mica, a Repre-

sentative from the State of Florida, regarding the plight of the Baha'is......

Letter dated June 16, 1981 to Hon. Edward Derwinski from Glenford Mitchell

regarding the plight of the Baha'is...

Telegram dated June 15, 1981 to U.N. Secretary Kurt Waldheim from Glen-

ford Mitchell regarding the execution of seven Baha'is.

Congressional Record insert from July 24, 1981, by Hon. Edward Derwinski

entitled "Ramsey Clark, Where Are You When We Need You”.

Article by Firuz Kazemzadeh entitled “For Baha'is in Iran, a Threat of

Extinction," printed in the New York Times, August 6, 1981, and reprinted

in the Congressional Record September 15, 1981, submitted by Hon. Edward


Text of H. Con. Res. 283, deploring the religious persecution of peoples of the

Baha'i faith by the Government of Iran.....

U.N. Economic and Social Council resolution on the Baha'is in Iran dated

March 11, 1982.

Excerpt from "A Cry from the Heart" by William Sears, submitted by Hon.

Fortney Stark, Jr

Text of S. Con. Res. 18, regarding the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox

and Catholic Churches and other religions in the U.S.S.R....

Open letter to the people in the West from the Vashchenko family in

Moscow, June 10, 1982.

Letter dated February 2, 1982 from Lidia Vashchenko regarding her stay in a

hospital in Moscow....

Letter to Lidia Vashchenko from Warren Zimmerman, Deputy Chief of Mis-

sion, U.S. Embassy in the U.S.S.R.

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