“I pray to the Lord that the voice of this summit on human rights and religious freedom be raised and heard by Christians around the world, so that they may put pressure on their governments and deny financing that, far from serving the health and well-being of Nicaraguans, keep an illegitimate government that murders its own people in power,” the anonymous priest told the crowd.

Many of the panels focused on the intersection of foreign policy and religious freedom. 

These included a discussion about minority religions — such as Christians, Jews, and Yazidis — facing persecution throughout the Middle East. It included discussions of the religious and ethnic violence ongoing in Nigeria, which has led to the deaths of more than 50,000 Christians in the last decade and a half. It also included discussions about China’s forced internment of Uyghur Muslims and the 2021 United States law that prohibited the import of goods made in Chinese forced labor camps. 

Panelists discussed the religious persecution caused by recent military conflicts, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the territory of Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh.

Some of the panelists suggested that the promotion of religious freedom around the world should be a major priority in Western governments’ foreign policies.

“We have the responsibility to care for those who can’t [follow the religion] they believe freely,” Robert Rehak, the ambassador and special envoy for Holocaust, Interfaith Dialogue, and Freedom of Religion in the Czech Republic, said in the opening panel on the topic “What is IRF, and what is it not?”