Persecution due to people’s faith has increased over recent years in the Asia-Pacific region, said speakers addressing the first Asia-Pacific Religious Freedom Forum, held from February 18-21 in Taiwan.
The conference, hosted by former Vice-President of Taiwan Annette Lu, was timed during Chinese New Year celebrations and right after the general elections in Taiwan.
A declaration, presented by the President of US-based Freedom House, Mark P. Lagon, affirmed a “commitment to establish and reinforce networks of advocates dedicated to promoting freedom of religion or belief in their respective countries and in the Asia-Pacific region, including the creation of both governmental and non-governmental mechanisms to promote freedom of religion.”
ChinaAid President Bob Fu, a former Chinese dissident himself, said the declaration was a roadmap “for those who wish for a free world”.
Participants came from 26 countries – including Pakistan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar – to be part of the forum. They included representatives from charities and international NGOs which focus on freedom of religion, such as Open Doors International, which works with minority Christians worldwide.