Religious liberty protects communities from the threat of totalitarianism, The Prince of Wales has said.
Prince Charles urged delegates at the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief to do all within their power to “reinforce the rights to be free”.
At the conference, Government representatives from 30 nations signed a broad statement on the right to freedom of religion or belief.
Prince Charles, in his pre-recorded opening address to the UK Government-sponsored event, said: “The right to freedom of religion or belief is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We must do all in our collective power to ensure that this commitment is met with deeds, not just words.
“This essential principle must be embedded in government, education, business, the media, and social media, and right across our communities.”
But he also warned the international gathering: “There is a choice to be made between totalitarian and liberal societies.”
In April, the UK’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce MP, described religious liberty as one of the foundations of a “stable and secure democratic society”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mrs Bruce said: “Respecting freedom of religion or belief is important because it is so closely connected to other human rights, such as free speech, the right to assemble, the right to work and even the right to life itself.
“When freedom of religion or belief is not respected by those in authority, all too often, other rights crumble, too.”