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Canada: Following the Liberal victory, the Office of Religious Freedom in the hot seat

Jewish, Sikhs and Muslims leaders are urging the government of Prime Minister Liberal Justin Trudeau to reaffirm its support for the Office of the freedom of religion set up by the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper.

The current Canadian government is seeking various ways to promote human rights, which would not exclude to reconsider or to dismantle the BLR has been running since February 2013.

Religious leaders have sent a letter to the Foreign Minister, Stéphane Dion, to reaffirm the need for such a body. From the beginning, the idea of ​​establishing the BLR has drawn criticism and serious doubts secular circles concerned about the risks posed by prioritizing freedom of religion in relation to other rights and freedoms – including those women and homosexuals, for example.

The promotion of freedom of belief and religion

This body, which employs five people and has a budget of $ 5 million, is part of the Foreign Ministry and should in principle be used to guide Canadian foreign policy. It is supposed to ensure the promotion of freedom of belief and religion as part of priority of Canadian foreign policy.

Protect endangered religious minorities

On 19 February 2013, the Government of Canada officially launched its Office of Religious Freedom  in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The mission of the ambassador in charge of the body and his team is to protect endangered religious minorities and their rights; to fight against the spread of hatred and intolerance based on religion; to the promotion of Canadian values ​​of pluralism and tolerance.

Canada considers a universal right to freedom of religion and belief, which allows anyone to practice their religious faith peacefully and safely.

Read the full article (in french) on cath website

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