Sat, Jul 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Stanley Kao in US reiterates stance on religious freedom

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰) in Washington on Thursday reiterated Taiwan’s unwavering commitment to defending religious freedom as part of its democratic values as he attended the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

The ministerial was hosted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Tuesday to Thursday, with US Vice President Mike Pence among the speakers.

It was the world’s largest-ever gathering on religious freedom, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US said in a statement yesterday.

It was attended by delegates and civic representatives from 106 countries, the office said.

At the ministerial, Kao introduced Pusin Tali, the nation’s first ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, who was appointed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in March, when Taipei hosted an international forum titled “A Civil Society Dialogue on Securing Religious Freedom in the Indo-Pacific Region.”

Tsai made the appointment to affirm Taiwan’s strong commitment to promoting religious freedom at home and around the world, Kao said.

At the forum in March, Taiwan pledged to contribute US$1 million to the US Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Fund to support efforts to curb religious persecution, he said.

Citing Tsai’s remarks, Kao said: “The religious freedom we enjoy in Taiwan is an integral part of our democratic way of life and one of the most important assets we can share with the international community,” which is why Pompeo not long ago highlighted Taiwan as “a reliable democratic partner and a force for good in the world.”

“Taiwan renews its unwavering commitment to uphold fundamental human rights, human dignity, cultural diversity and ultimate religious freedom,” Kao said, calling on other nations to join the effort.

In his keynote address, Pompeo said that the ministerial attracted hundreds more attendees than the previous year.

He also announced the establishment of an International Religious Freedom Alliance.

The alliance — the first international body devoted to the topic — aims to bring together like-minded countries to confront challenges of religious freedom, he said.

The alliance would defend “the unalienable rights for all human beings to believe — or not to believe — whatever it is they choose,” he said.

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