THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON WELCOMES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SPECIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ABROAD
The President today welcomed the formation of a Special Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State on Religious Freedom Abroad. This "Advisory Committee, established by Secretary of State Christopher and chaired by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor John Shattuck, will call attention to problems of religious persecution abroad. It is also expected to provide advice on how to bring about reconciliation in those areas where religious enmity is a threat to peace.
The Administration has embarked on this initiative because of its commitment to helping people of all faiths live free of the threat of persecution. As a nation founded by men and women who sought refuge from religious persecution, our country continues to serve as a model for the world of freedom of belief and harmonious relations among different faiths.
Because of this heritage, the United States has led the way in championing religious rights around the world. Close to fifty years ago, under the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt, the United States delegation to the United Nations saw to it that the "right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion" was written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet today, in many places around the world this right is not honored. Religious persecution is suffered by many religious groups who are singled out for punishment or discrimination because of their religion.
The establishment of the Advisory Committee, which is composed of representatives of the largest American religious groups, together with academic leaders and members of religious groups that have suffered persecution abroad, carries forward the commitment of the United States to advance religious freedom, help those suffering under repression, support the forces of tolerance and advance reconciliation among the many communities of faith.
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