Hugues Sanon’s speech at the 2023 IRF summit in Washington DC.

Today, it may seem surprising to inform you that there are more than 10,000 religions in the world. And as the world has just reached to 8 billion people, 6 billion of them are believers. But yet, almost 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries where there are high levels of religious restrictions, where human rights are violated”. Said Ambassador Hugues Sanon, Special Envoy of International relations to United Nations for the Council for Justice, Equality and Peace (COJEP).

He added, “We discovered that discrimination, harassment and cynical abuse against religious groups, both by governments and individuals have been reported in more than 185 countries. The latest data shows that 56 governments – including China, Japan, Russia, Pakistan, Egypt, and India continue to target and to persecute religious communities and impose “very high” levels of restrictions on them. Buddhists, Hindu, Christians, Muslims, Buddhist and Jews have been murdered in Churches, Mosques and Synagogues”.

The activist who spoke for more than 12 minutes to a multicultural group said from the podium “This has to stop!!! And today I call for freedom, I call for justice and I call for reparations for the religious community, and today, together, we’re going to empower ourselves to win this war”.

He also recalled how the First Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by United Nations, every person, everywhere has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief. -Article 1 of the chapter of United Nations -The UN International Covenant affirms freedom for all without distinction as to race, sex, language and religion. -Many national constitution affirm freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“But, despite all these protective laws, Marxists communist ideologies and cultural imperialists continue to oppress, remaining particularly hostile to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, he said. “But, the whole world must understand that violation of these freedom are impacting the lives of billion believers around the world”. Therefore, It is essential that all States, all faith based leaders and all influential actors at every level of our society to stand up to all incitement to hatred and to fight against discrimination, hostility, cynical abuse and violence towards religion”.

So, today, as hundreds of religious leaders, lawmakers and civil society groups gather in Washington DC, we must also come together to uplift and protect the right to freedom of conscience.

The human rights advocate, Ambassador Sanon in his speech also condemned 25 years of violation of human rights and religious freedom against Tai Ji Men. He recalled that December 19, 1996 was a very sad and a very painful day for the Tai Ji Men. “This year of 2023 marks 27 years since this peaceful spiritual group was persecuted for political reasons based on unjustified lies and unjustified suspicions that led to a violent raid by hundreds of armed police”, he said.

In that unlawful attack, twelve Tai Ji Men academies were raided as well as private houses of dizi. Also, during the raids, members of Tai Ji men were arrested, including their Grand Master, Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, who spent 116 days in detention, followed by the auction and seizure of his lands in 2020, he continued.

“This is wrong, this is a violation of human rights. So, on behalf of COJEP International and myself, I denounce this abuse of state power towards Dr. Hong and the Tai Ji Men, which has a terrible impact on their current and future situation”, said the human Rights activist.

Ambassador Hugues Sanon said, “Dr. Hong is a wise man, no matter how powerful he is, no matter how many world leaders met in his life, no matter how many followers he has, yet, he remains a very humble person. He always smiles, he is always helping people”.

Ambassador Sanon recalled that although Dr. Hong was so busy at the IRF summit, he spent more than three hours with me and my wife to teach them from his heart, the Tai Ji Men one-two-three Philosophy and the Tai Ji Men spiritual language and the 8 symbols of the Bagua.

“So, today is the day for us all to put our time, our knowledge, our money and our lives on the line to fight this fight that has been going on against the Tai Ji Men for over 27 years. And when we win this battle, we will be rejoicing and celebrating and Dr. Hong will smile again”. said Hugues Sanon

“Today, we need a world where hate, discrimination, cynical abuse, hostility, bigotry and violence towards other have no place in our society and should be condemned by all actors at every level of society”, he continued. “But, our efforts require us to work together in the promotion of tolerance and respect for religious or belief”, he said. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, to respect differences and to promote living together in peace” Concluded, Ambassador Sanon.

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