The Centre Commends the Federal Government on the Launch of the Office of Religious Freedom

TORONTO, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Government of Canada announced the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom. The Office, which will be an arm of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), was developed following significant consultations with various faith communities - including Canada's Jewish community via the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

In response to today's announcement, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement:

          "We commend the federal government for this important initiative, which is in keeping with Canada's best traditions of advancing human rights abroad. As history has painfully shown, a given country's treatment of religious minorities is a barometer of its human rights record as a whole.

          "Today, millions around the world are repressed, assaulted, imprisoned, and even executed simply for their faith. The hatred that motivates such abuses has likewise fueled horrific conflicts, perhaps most notoriously in Darfur.

          "Having benefited from freedoms earned by previous generations, as Canadians we have a duty to speak up for those who face persecution for their religious beliefs. We look forward to working with the new Office of Religious Freedom and Canadians of all backgrounds in support of this urgent and noble cause."

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that serves as the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada.

SOURCE: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

For further information:

Steve McDonald
Associate Director, Communications

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Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

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