Canadian Religious Freedom Officer Scheduled To Visit Forbidden Countries

Andrew Bennett, Canadian Religious Office ambassador said that he will be visiting the generally forbidden countries suffering from lack of religious freedom and lack of freedom of conscience.

Andrew Bennett was appointed as the religious ambassador by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper February 19 to "amplify the voice of the voiceless people around the world".

"I'll be travelling a fair bit to countries where there is a lack of freedom of religion, a lack of freedom of conscience, meeting with groups that are experiencing persecution. I expect to be fairly busy," Catholic Register, Canada's Catholic News Source Sunday quoted Bennett as saying.

Before visiting those countries, the ambassador is scheduled to visit its ally countries including U.S. and U.K.

Bennett made it clear that his area of focus will be international religious freedom issues saying: "My focus is on foreign policy, not domestic."

Stressing that Canada's business with the concerned countries won't compromise Canada's commitment to be the voice for the voiceless; Bennett said his office will stay tuned to its commitment.

"Whether with China, Iran or Pakistan, we will be consistent," said he.

While launching the office, the Canadian prime minister urged the religious freedom officer to track the day to day religious freedom situation across the world.

"In China, Christians who worship outside government-approved boundaries are driven underground and their leaders are arrested and detained while Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners are subjected to repression and intimidation," said Stephen Harper.

The office of religious freedom is likely to operate under the leadership of Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The newly appointed religious freedom ambassador is a scholar, religious leader and a public servant. He has previously worked for the Privy Council Office, Export Development Canada and Natural Resources Canada in a variety of analytical, research and corporate roles.