U.S. State Department Releases 2013 International Religious Freedom Report

The U. S. Department of State released its 2013 International Religious Freedom report on Liberia.

The report says Liberia’s constitution, laws and policies protect religious freedom, and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom in the past year.

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. The report discusses the unsuccessful March petition by the “Liberian Restoration to Christian Heritage Committee” to make Liberia a Christian state and a response demonstration organized by Muslims urging the legislature to reject the demand. The petition was submitted to the legislature but not acted upon.

The U. S. Ambassador and U.S. Embassy representatives engaged on religious freedom and tolerance issues with the Government of Liberia and civil society. These engagements included an iftar dinner, visits to religious institutions, and meetings with religious leaders. During Ramadan, the embassy led outreach programs focused on Muslim youth, including a discussion on peace building and religious tolerance.

In September, the U. S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom visited Liberia and discussed religious freedom with government officials and leaders of all religious groups, including the Traditional Council. The Ambassador-at-Large solicited ideas on how to promote Liberia as a model of religious freedom and tolerance for other African countries.

The International Religious Freedom report is an annual review required by U. S. law to ensure U. S. policy makers take into account abuses of religious freedom. It reflects the expectation that all countries should protect religious freedom, consistent with the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and, for most countries, including Liberia, their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report supplements the most recent Human Rights Report by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.