52 n March / April 2014 n www.faith Today.ca
f T: You’ve been at it for just over a year now. Can you tell our
readers how you feel things are going with the ORf so far?
AB: Things are going very well. We are very happy with how
things have developed. We have three main areas of focus – advocacy, policy and programming.
Advocacy is my role as ambassador, going out and travelling to
countries where there are issues of religious freedom. I’ve now had
the chance to visit ten countries, some with concerns of issues of religious freedom like Turkey, the Ukraine and Hungary, and countries
where we have a common cause like the U.S., the U.K. and France.
it has been just over a year since Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom (ORF) launched in Ottawa, with Ambassador Andrew Bennett at its helm. Bennett, 41, has visited ten countries so far and addressed multiple infractions of religious freedom
including persecution against Ahmadiyya Muslims, Bahá’ís, Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Rohingyas,
Uyghur Muslims and of course Christians around the world.
Ambassador Bennett (AB) spoke with senior editor Karen Stiller (FT) about how he feels the first year
of the ORF has been, why it’s so important Canada speaks out against religious persecution, and those
awkward meetings with governments who are doing the persecuting.
Pho To: DEPAr TMENT of forEIGN AffAIrS, TrADE AND DEVELoPMENT
in front of the
ukrainian greek-catholic patriarchal
of the resurrection
of christ in Kyiv,
The Faith Today Interview With
Andrew Bennett of Canada’s
Office of Religious freedom