Canada Signs Statement Calling for Religious Freedom in China

August 23, 2018 Updated: August 23, 2018

Canada joined the United States and other countries to sign a statement raising concerns about the Chinese communist regime’s repression of religious groups in China and asking China to protect religious freedom.

The statement was signed by Canada, the United States, the U.K., and Kosovo during the first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted by the United States in late July.

“As representatives of the international community, we are deeply concerned about the significant restrictions on religious freedom in China and call on the Chinese government to respect the human rights of all individuals,” reads the statement.

“Many members of religious minority groups in China—including Uighurs, Hui, and Kazakh Muslims; Tibetan Buddhists; Catholics; Protestants; and Falun Gong—face severe repression and discrimination because of their beliefs.”

The statement notes that the groups consistently report being subjected to torture, arbitrary arrest, detention,  and harassment. Both registered and unregistered religious groups report repression for practising their religious beliefs and peaceful practices, the statement reads.

The full text of the statement was released by the U.S. State Department on July 26.

Matt DeCourcey, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, represented Canada at the  Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C., from July 24 to 26.

Plenary sessions at the summit allowed official representatives of international organizations to meet with religious leaders and seek out concrete ways to combat religious persecution.

More than 80 foreign delegations and religious leaders from around the world joined the ministerial.

The signatories called on the Chinese regime to protect religious freedom and respect human rights.