As global restrictions on faith reach all-time highs, USIP’s Knox Thames say the United States must continue to be a vocal leader in combatting persecution and pursuing religious freedom, saying, “I think the time is right … anything we say goes out like a megaphone to the rest of the world.”

On Peace is a weekly podcast sponsored by USIP and Sirius XM POTUS Ch. 124. Each week, USIP experts tackle the latest foreign policy issues from around the world.

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The Latest @ USIP: Resurgent Efforts in Colombia’s Peace Process

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Newly elected Colombian President Gustavo Petro has made “total peace” a cornerstone of his agenda, looking to jump-start implementation of the 2016 FARC peace agreement and establish negotiations with the ELN and various other armed groups. Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, who serves as a delegate of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia for relations between the Catholic Church and the Colombian government, discusses how the Church is working at the grassroots level to address the humanitarian situation in conflict-affected areas and efforts to build consensus among civil society and government officials regarding next steps in the peace process.

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Knox Thames on the Role of Religion in the Ukraine War

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Common Ground on International Religious Freedom Enhances U.S. National Security

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Religious freedom, like other human rights, is strongly correlated with political stability — and repression of religion or belief can serve as a major driver of conflict and violence. Around the world today, we see discrimination against or targeting of religious minorities associated with rising social tensions, intercommunal strife, violence and even mass atrocities. Muslims in India, Rohingya in Myanmar, Uyghurs in China, Yazidis in Iraq, and Christians in Pakistan: all are subject to forms of violence that have corollary effects on broader prospects for peace and stability in their respective contexts.

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Maintaining International Religious Freedom as a Central Tenet of U.S. National Security

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In 2021–22, USIP’s Religion and Inclusive Societies Program convened a bipartisan working group of advocates, academics, and former government officials to discuss how the United States can advance global peace and stability by embracing international religious freedom as a major pillar of its diplomatic engagement. This report, written by the working group’s co-chairs, examines the history of the US commitment to international religious freedom and the challenges to ensuring that it remains a central tenet of US foreign policy and national security.

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