Announcing the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report

U.S. Department of State - Washington, D.C.

The International Religious Freedom Report describes the status of religious freedom, government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies promoting religious freedom. The reports, prepared by the U.S. Department of State, are submitted in compliance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

Secretary of State John Kerry:

“But as a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view…” – Youth Connect: Berlin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Berlin, Germany

“I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs…” – On Pastor Abedini’s Iranian Detainment for his Religious Beliefs

Former Secretary of State Clinton:
“But the truth we have learned, through a lot of trial and error over more than 235 years in our country, is that we defend our beliefs best by defending free expression for everyone, and it lowers the temperature.  It creates an environment in which you are free to exercise and to speak about your religion, whether your neighbor or someone across the town agrees with you or not. In fact, the appropriate answer to speech that offends is more speech.” -  At the first implementation meeting for UN HRC Resolution 16/18

Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s Thematic Discussion on “Racist Hate Speech:”
“Banning and punishing offensive and hateful speech is neither an effective approach to combating such intolerance, nor an appropriate role for government in seeking to promote respect for diversity. As President Obama stated in a speech delivered in Cairo, Egypt in June 2009, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” – “Curtailing Freedom of Religion is Not the Way to Combat Hateful Speech,” August 2012

Additional Remarks on International Religious Freedom

President Barack Obama:

Former Spokesperson Nuland:

Ambassador-at-Large Suzan Johnson Cook:

Acting Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Michael Kozak:

Disclaimer: The Office of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy, in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, of the U.S. Department of State manages this site as a portal for international human rights related information from the United States Government. External links to other internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.