U.S. Department of State to Host Meeting on Religious Freedom

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 9, 2011

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook will launch the first implementation meeting of the Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion or Belief, on Monday, December 12 at 9:00 AM in the Loy Henderson conference room at the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador Johnson Cook, DHS Assistant Secretary David Heyman, and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez will each deliver opening remarks.

The United States believes that freedom of religion and freedom of expression are vital to every nation and critical in maintaining stability and promoting economic prosperity. The adoption of resolution 16/18 in March by the UN Human Rights Council was an important statement, but the United States believes that it must be followed by sustained commitment.

The Istanbul Process acts on that belief by providing a forum to implement U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which calls for specific steps to combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence on the basis of religion or belief, while also protecting freedom of speech and religion. Representatives from approximately 30 foreign countries and international organizations, including the European Union, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will participate.

Remarks will be open to credentialed members of the media.

Pre-set time for cameras: 7:45 AM from the 23rd Street Entrance
Final access time for journalists and still photographers: 8:30 AM from the 23rd Street Entrance

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport).


U.S. Department of State, Office of Press Relations

Phone (202) 647-2492

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor, Evan Owen

Phone 202-647-4747 or owene@state.gov

PRN: 2011/2107