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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 ..."
Leonard Zakim, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith accompanied by
Olga and Rev. Blahoslav Hruby, editors of Religion in Communist Domi-
ica, on behalf of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the
FULL COMMITTEE MARKUP ON H. CON. RES. 433
Hon. Jerome Shestack, former Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on
Tom Johnson, U.S. Mission to the U.N., U.N. Economic and Social Coun-
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
80 Members of the House of Representatives regarding the emigration of
House of Representatives regarding the Vashchenko and Chmykhalov fami-
Letter dated November 1, 1981 to the Society of Americans for Vashchenko
Gromyko, Foreign Minister, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from the
Chile, regarding actions by the Chilean Government to expel priests, reli-
Illinois, regarding H. Con. Res. 249 and the persecution of the Baha'is in