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Mar 02

Promoting Religious Freedom in South Asia

South Asia is home to some of the world’s most persecuted people. In 2013, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka all ranked among the top 10 violators of religious freedom in Asia according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Pakistan’s continued use of blasphemy laws, the Indian government’s inadequate strategy to address tensions among religious minorities, and the killing of atheist journalists in Bangladesh highlight just some of the myriad of challenges facing South Asia.

The U.S. should assist South Asia in forging a path toward respect for religious freedom. Our program will delve into the current challenges facing South Asia, explore the unique challenges facing India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and explore available options for the U.S. and South Asia to promote religious liberty in the region.

More About the Speakers

Remarks by
Ambassador David N. Saperstein
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Followed by a Panel Discussion with

Farahnaz Ispahani
Author of Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities, and a former Member of the Pakistani Parliament

Pervez Rafique
Executive Director, Bleeding for Belief, and former Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly

John Sifton
Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

Olivia Enos
Research Associate, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation

Lisa Curtis
Senior Fellow for South Asia, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation (Moderator)