Leading Jewish Human Rights Group Denounces Secretary of State Pompeo’s Misnamed “Religious Freedom” Conference

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) says administration maliciously misuses religion to attack rights of women, girls and LGBTQI+ people

To mark the opening day of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy, issued the following statement:

“Today, Secretary Pompeo will maliciously misuse religion and the concept of religious freedom to  trample on the human rights of the most vulnerable people in the world. To be crystal clear, there is nothing moral about this Ministerial and nothing honorable about the administration’s attempts to  undermine the human rights of the people who most need them upheld. Secretary Pompeo is consciously and cynically violating the core teaching of every major faith to welcome the stranger and tend to the weak. From the perspective of Judaism, this is nothing less than a tragedy.

“This meeting comes just months after Secretary Pompeo’s pet project, the Commission on Unalienable Rights, unveiled a final report that ostensibly placed freedom of religion and conscience at the top of a hierarchy of rights. In fact, this report is a cloak to disguise the administration’s purposeful attacks on the human rights of women, girls, LGBTQI+ people, sex workers and others.

“Pompeo’s choice of the government of Poland to co-host the Ministerial speaks volumes. Poland is a country with a national government that has sought a near-total ban on abortion and that is hostile to LGBTQI+ rights, while many of the country’s local governments have instituted ‘LGBT-free zones.’ This perverse partnership with the Polish government makes clear the true goal of this Ministerial: to undermine the human rights of the most marginalized people under the veil of religion.

“As a faith-based organization committed to upholding the core belief in the essential dignity of every person, we will not stand by as religion is purposefully twisted to promote hate and discrimination. We  strongly oppose the Trump administration’s misuse of religion to deny the human rights of those who most need them upheld, while viciously undermining the international human rights system designed to protect the human rights of every person and community without exception.”

About the human rights work of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) 

AJWS funds LGBTQI+ human rights groups in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and mobilizes the American Jewish community to advocate for U.S. policies that support human rights abroad. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.


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