The United States’ Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, has stated that China, Iran, and other countries that the US considers the world’s top religious liberty violators, were not invited to the State Department’s second summit on religious freedom.

Brownback said it was necessary for the State Department to work with other like-minded and aspirational countries like Uzbekistan, a nation that has only recently moved to be more engaged with the international community after nearly three decades of isolation.

Any country that has demonstrated a change in their basic laws on dealing with religion and promoting tolerance needed to be included in the summit, according to Brownback, who recently spoke at the Holocaust Memorial Museum together with survivors of the world’s worst act of genocide – a speech that officially kicked-off the 16-18 July event.

“They’ve experienced horrific atrocities, but the growth of the soul that happens through events that, and that you feel out of a person, is really extraordinary,” Brownback said while adding that the number of victims of religious persecution appears to be growing.