Sens. Cardin, Rubio and Reps. Hill, Raskin to serve as bipartisan honorary co-chairs of International Religious Freedom Summit 2022

Apr. 28, 2022

WASHINGTON — The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit will welcome two pairs of bipartisan legislators as honorary congressional co-chairs at this 2022 Summit, the second annual gathering of international freedom advocates and activists from around the world. 

The Summit co-chairs, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and former United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, today announced that Senators Ben Cardin and Marco Rubio will serve as honorary Senate co-chairs, while Representatives French Hill and Jamie Raskin will serve as honorary co-chairs from the House. The Summit will take place Tuesday, June 28 through Thursday, June 30 in Washington, D.C. 

“Freedom of religion, conscience, and belief is a basic, essential human right,” remarked Dr. Lantos Swett. “These congressional leaders have walked the walk when it comes to supporting that right, and we’re thrilled to have their support at IRF Summit 2022.”

“It is imperative that religious freedom becomes a grassroots, kitchen table concern for folks across the political spectrum,” said Brownback. “That’s why we’ve worked hard to recruit leaders from both parties who are committed to the idea that the right of religious freedom must be guaranteed for everyone, everywhere, all the time.”

Honorary congressional co-chairs for IRF Summit 2022 include:

  • Sen. Ben Cardin Maryland (D) — “We must press the international community – governments and citizens alike – to speak out against religious persecution and to stand without equivocation for the freedom of religious belief. The failure of governments to protect this essential human right saps the vitality of their societies and breeds resentment, instability, and violence.”
  • Sen. Marco Rubio Florida (R) — “The freedom to practice or live out one’s faith according to one’s conscience is a sacred right that no government has the authority to take away. Tragically, this fundamental human right remains under constant assault around the world. I am proud to continue to advance policies that ensure protections for freedom of religion and belief, as well as impose serious consequences on the governments and non-state actors who engage in gross abuses of religious freedom.”
  • Rep. French Hill  Arkansas, 2nd District (R) — “All people around the world, regardless of their religious affiliation, deserve the same freedom to practice their chosen religion that we enjoy in the United States. The respect for human rights and religious freedom is a fundamental American position.” 
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin Maryland, 8th District (D) — “The freedoms to choose your religion or no religion at all and to worship and think freely are fundamental and non-negotiable. There can be no real ‘religious freedom’ for people if they are too afraid to go to church, to synagogue or to the mosque.”

The Summit is supported by more than 40 diverse partners, including the IRF Secretariat, Religious Freedom Institute, Uyghur Human Rights Project, American Hindu Foundation, Open Doors, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, among others. It aims to bring greater attention to religious freedom violations and to create a powerful coalition of groups to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.

More information on the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is available here

Registration and accommodations are available here.

International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is a powerful, broad coalition of religious, human rights and civil society groups that advocate for religious freedom for all people, everywhere at all times.

Sam Brownback served as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (2018-21) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett is president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.