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CSW Calls for Increased Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief on Human Rights Day

By Christian Solidarity Worldwide  •  December 10, 2012

On Human Rights Day, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) welcomes the increased global attention on the right to freedom of religion or belief in the past year, and encourages the international community to translate this into action to protect and promote this universal human right.

Today, CSW’s Senior EU Advocate, Sofia Lemmetyinen, joins a panel including the Italian and Austrian foreign ministers and the EU’s Special Representative on human rights, to discuss how the situation in conflict prone countries can be addressed through the promotion of freedom of religion or belief.  Last week, the UK and Canadian governments jointly hosted a conference on combating intolerance and promoting freedom of religion for all.  During the past year, freedom of religion or belief has been raised during the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs) of a number of states, including India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

CSW continues to highlight threats to this right, including the situation of religious minorities in many countries around the world.  In Egypt, a president elected as an alternative to a member of the former regime by a slim margin and with the assistance of liberal and secular voters is attempting to force through a draft constitution that limits the rights of religious minorities and women.  In northern and central Nigeria, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram and its offshoots are mounting a deadly campaign aimed at eradicating Christianity utilising tactics that could amount to war crimes, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  In Burma, Rohingyas in Rakhine State have been subjected to a systematic campaign of persecution and ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution against the Chin people continues.  In Pakistan, the frequency of extremist violence against religious minorities has reached alarming levels, with Shi’as, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus alike being targeted in premeditated and spontaneous acts of aggression, and the state is not doing enough to address the root causes.

CSW also believes that the most recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to the General Assembly (A/67/303), which calls upon states “to consistently respect, protect and promote the human right to freedom of religion or belief in the area of conversion”, creates an opportunity for a global conversation around this neglected area of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

CSW’s Advocacy Director, Andrew Johnston said, “We welcome the increased prominence that the right to freedom of religion or belief is rightfully receiving, and we urge the international community to go much further to ensure that this right is protected for all people around the world.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

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This post is in: Press Release

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