Taiwan a 'beautiful beacon' for religious freedom

U.S. Commissioner on International Religious Freedom adds right to practice religion elsewhere is in peril and international community should do more

Left to right: Bob Fu, Csaba Sógor, Nadine Maenza, Kenneth Starr, and Lyim Hong-tiong.

Left to right: Bob Fu, Csaba Sógor, Nadine Maenza, Kenneth Starr, and Lyim Hong-tiong.

HSINCHU (Taiwan News) – While attending the Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum, the U.S. Commissioner on International Religious Freedom, Nadine Maenza, told Taiwan News that when it comes to freedom of religion China cannot compare to Taiwan.

“Taiwan is a really beautiful beacon for religious freedom,” Maenza said and the proof of that is, “We are here today at this conference with leaders from around the world coming to talk about religious freedom.”

After reading a letter to the forum attendees from Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Maenza said more and diverse actors across the globe have joined the fight to protect the right of religion or belief, yet the right to religion is more imperiled than ever.

“Entire generations have endured cruel or unrelenting treatment because of their beliefs,” said Maenza. “(This is) particularly true for the three countries that USCIRF featured in our very first report in the year of 2000: Russia, Sudan, and China.”

When asked about the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Maenza told Taiwan News the situation has not improved since she penned an op-ed last September calling for more action from the international community and the Myanmar government.

“The flow of refugees has lessened going into Bangladesh,” said Maenza. “But we still have not seen the international community rise up.”

She demanded accountability and consequences for the Myanmar government. “We certainly haven’t seen conditions change for the Rohingyas so they can go back.”