tv Secretary of State Pompeo News Conference on Religious Freedom CSPAN July 26, 2018 4:15pm-4:34pm EDT
freedom meant so much to them. and also today, the vice president gave a speech to bring attention to the plight of those who are persecuted for what they believe, auoften by their own governments. in the coming months, the united states will launch a persecution effort, focused on ensuring communities of faith are part of the solution in recovering from atrocities. while focused first on our ongoing response to the genocide committed by isis in iraq, the department will also host other senior officials to speak this week. including jared kushner, omb director mick mulvaney, and mark green. and today, u.n. ambassador nikki
haley will be giving remarks. with the state department, we're undertaking further initiatives to further the cause of religious freedom around the world. first, as a vice president, we have created a religious fund, a joint fund with other nations. second, we have created new international visitor leadership programs to bring those working on the front lines of religious freedom issues together. all different faiths from all around the world to come to the united states, attend a project, and we'll focus on protecting the rights of religious minorities. if you are champion of religious freedom, be on the lookout for announcements coming soon. third, in just a couple of months, the state department will host a work shot called bold line to support and scale innovative public/private
partnerships. the open calls for proposals is now on the website. fourth, we look forward to announcements by several partner countries who will explore specific measures that whole regions can take to promote religious freedom. and in just a true moments, we'll release the potomac declaration and plan of action. it says that the united states takes religious freedom seriously, we'll work with those around the world under attack for those beliefs, and we expect leaders to make it their priority, as well. the plan of action provides concrete ways the government can do more to protect religious freedom and vulnerable religious communities in their own country
t. in closing, i would like to thank the ambassador for their work on this event. what you all have done to put this on is remarkable and very important moment in america's support for religious freedom. i want to also commend the entire state department for executing an event, whose goal is assuring the sacred right of every man, woman, and child to worship as they please. i will now invite ambassador brownback for comments and to take a few questions. thank you. >> we're still wrapping up the ministeri ministerial. so many have asked to speak, that we're continuing to go through that. so those will be wrapping up shortly. but over 80 countries, a number
of commitments to hold different events. a number of them want to hold regional events in their area or country. several of them expressing support to join the fund put forward. a number of them talking about particular statements of concern regarding the rohingya, what's taking place there. and the -- what we have categ y categorized as ethnic cleansing and more reports come out, ethnic cleansing of religious mirety. we started the week and are ending it at the holocaust museum, reminding people that if you don't deal with these issues, this is what it can end up being. we've had genocide victims here, christians in northern iraq, yazidis, to be able to testify. so we think it's been a spectacular success, delighted. we're getting a number of other countries to move forward with this cause.
it's been bad. it is bad. but i believe we're at the moment of change in that. this administration is very serious about this. we believe this is such a foundational right, it h he wwip in other places if we can get this right. so this is a launch, it's a launch of a partnership, it's a launch of an alliance with governments, with governments, nonprofit, faith community people. and we think we've got a lot of energy moving forward from this one going forward.
happy to take some questions that people might have. >> do you have a question? >> what is the prospect that turkey will let pastor burton go, come home? and do you k you speak to the issue of the palestinians, given the fact that there are reports that the refugee office may be closed, and refugees through the u.n. have been drastically cut and there doesn't seem to be very much communication right now because of problems on both sides, but no communication really at any senior level between the administration and the palestinian people. >> let me take the first one. the second one i won't have a good, informed comment.
but on pastor brunson, there is excellent prospects he's going to come home. this issue has been raised with turkey for some months now. it's been raised in many forums. it's been raised by every level of government. the president raised the issue of brunson with the turkish level, as has the vice president, as have i, members of congress. this has continued to build and build and build. and i -- turkey obviously took a step yesterday to put him out on house arrest, which is an aprompt, b improvement, which is not free. the charges are specious, and i believe he will be coming home. if the turkish authorities continue to keep him under arrest, there will continue to be actions taken by the united
states as announced today by the president and reiterated by the vice president. >> if we can go to michelle from npr please. >> thanks. a little bit following up on what andrew was talking about with the refugee issue. how do you square the u.s. effort to protect religious minorities with this administration's determination to limit the number of refugees that it accepts here in the u.s.? >> well, the religious freedom issues that we're pushing here are ones that unite all of us. that's one thing i would put forward. if you were there or saw any of the forums we've had the last couple of days, we had people of every faith and idea that were there. and everybody was pulling together. we believe in religious freedom for everybody. you heard several of the delegates say here today that we
need to deal with the issue of religious freedom, and that will help people in their home countries much more, if they can practice their faith freely there. and they think, many of the delegates, several spoke about the need to have religious freedom as a way to have people be able to stay in their home countries. that's a very important issue. so what we're trying to do, and this may not satisfy you. what we're trying to do is what we did with this bill when it passed 20 years ago. this is a space we agree on, which is on religious freedom for everybody, everywhere. but we haven't had to push behind it. we haven't put enough energy or effort behind it at all to get accomplished, because we have three-fourths living in religio religiously restricted atmospheres.
>> lori, please. >> thank you very much for this whole event. i would like to ask you about your visit to kurdistan and northern iraq earlier this month. can you tell us your impressions, particularly from the perspective of threatened religious minorities there? >> i am impressed with the resiliencearea yazidis and christians in that area. there still isn't sufficient security in the region. there are still yazidis unaccounted for, and probably held in bondage, probably syria.
i met with a heartbreaking situation with a number of yazidi women that spoke about being sold three, seven, ten times. one woman talking about having a 15-year-old mentally challenged son of hers ripped out of her arms. another one that said i'll sell a kidney to get my child back. it's horrible. really horrible. but you are seeing rebuilding taking place. much of it privately financed. the u.s. has worked to try to get our financing more to help out and rebuild in the efforts, rebuilding homes and communities in that northern iraq area. rebuilding water and hospital systems. so i'm heartened that people are moving back from those minority communities. i think the challenge remains, getting enough funding to
rebuild, which the u.s. government and private sector groups are working on, and other groups are, too. hungary is in the area. the second bigger one remains security, a question which is still insufficient. >> i talked to you earlier on the first day. there are -- [ inaudible ] -- shouting for their religious leader to come back to tibet. they are focusing on the concrete action. so what would be the concrete action that youbl could go and e by yourself or ambassadors or a representative from the united states government? >> thank you.
a number of tibetan buddhists testify and speak here, and people that have experienced the persecution. it's taken place for years in tibet. what we are working together and pulling together an international consortium to press china about religious freedom. this is a position pain they are's been forward. it's uigher muslims, christian house church leaders, there's a whole series, and this has been going on for some period of time. we're trying to get that international coalition to push on the chinese government to let people practice their faith freely. we're not asking for anything beyond a basic human right. basic human right in the 1948 u.n. treaty. that is your right to worship as
you see fit. we had a video presentation by the dalai lama at the seminar, as well. he's getting older and more difficult for him to travel. a number of us have met with him, and he's one of the best spokesman in the world for religious freedom. and he spoke via video at this. but we're going to continue to fr press that issue and build a series of allies like out of the group here today, to press the chinese for this basic human right for tibetans and the rest of the people in china. >> last question. adele, please. >> hello, thanks. i was wondering how you work on this, upholding the u.s. principle of church and state, even as you seek to have religious leaders and government officials from around the world -- and i wonder if you could say if you have received
any donations yet, and if so, how many other countries have said they're interested or said we'll give? >> on that second piece, i heard one country said something, but i haven't been there during all of them, and several are still determining what they're going to do. that's on the governmental piece. we're asking also to raise private sector funds, as well. your first question, i didn't understand the character of it. >> in our country, we're known for the principle of separation of church and state. and now you have people from all sorts of states globally and religions that you're trying to have work together. how do you relate those two things? >> well, i hope i'm getting to the heart of your question. my intent is to do that. the united states, you know this nation, it's founded on religious freedom. we believe that countries around the world, the role of the government is to protect the right to religious freedom.
it's not to pick a winner or loser, or say we favor this faith or that faith. it's to protect their right. you have a right to religious freedom to do with what you choose with your own soul, period. the government's role in this is to protect the right, and we're going to continue to pursue that. also, it's the safe space for the government to be in, to protect the right. it's also the best place for you to be in if you want to grow your economy and want more security. societies that protect this right have more economic growth, more diversity. release what some refer to as a spiritual capital, where faith groups come in and put in hospitals and schools.
and you have less terrorism. more religious freedom leads to less terrorism. and that's now in the academic data. so we're pushing it with governments that it's not only just this foundational human right, which it is, it's good for your growth, security, it's good for your future. thank you very much for being here. >> ambassador, thank you. the house held a hearing looking at the implications of the supreme court decision in south dakota v. wayfair. states can charge sales taxes from online retailers without a physical presence in the state. lawmakers focused on the impact on states and small businesses. watch this tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span3. also online at c-span.org.
>> this weekend on oral histories, the first of our eight-part series on women in congress. sunday at 10:00 a.m. herein, former congresswoman susan malinari. >> it made me a fighter and forced to be tougher. isn't that just sort of the secret? at least it was back then. we were constantlying with underestimated as females. and sometimes that's a good thing. i remember a lot of my debates where a lot of the people who i was debating department take me serio -- didn't take me seriously. >> and in the weeks i ahead we'll hear from --