Secretary Clinton recently provided remarks during the release of the 2009 International Religious Freedom Report. She stated, "The right to profess, practice, and promote one’s religious beliefs is a founding principle of our nation. In fact, many of our earliest settlers came because they wanted the freedom to practice their own religion without a state interfering or oppressing that practice. It is the first liberty mentioned in our Bill of Rights, and it is a freedom guaranteed to all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I want to underscore that, because this is not just an American value. This was agreed to be a universal value. Religious freedom provides a cornerstone for every healthy society. It empowers faith-based service. It fosters tolerance and respect among different communities. And it allows nations that uphold it to become more stable, secure and prosperous. As President Obama said in Cairo, freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. These facts underlie our commitment to the cause of religious freedom. That’s why we make the issue of religious freedom a priority in our diplomacy, and this annual report is the centerpiece of our efforts."Full Text | Video