On 23 November 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part, via video-conferencing, in the ministerial forum of the International Religious Freedom Alliance Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief, highlighting key challenges in the Alliance’s framework and drawing attention to crackdown by authoritarian regimes on religious minorities. He also reaffirmed Latvia’s support for religious freedom as one of fundamental freedoms.

The Minister highlighted the Alliance’s efforts and progress made over the past year, like standing up for the rights of religious minorities in Myanmar and Afghanistan and expressing support for the Yazidi community. The Minister also voiced concerns over the reprisals by Russian authorities against Crimean Tatars in the Crimean Peninsula illegally annexed by Russia, and he condemned Russia’s crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses.

At this year’s ministerial, the Alliance marked the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Latvia joined the declaration in 1990.

The Alliance, established on 5 February 2020, is a network of like-minded countries fully committed to advancing the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world as well as jointly combating discrimination and persecution based on religion or belief. The Alliance currently comprises 33 countries including Latvia, which joined the Alliance upon its inauguration.