Sep 14, 2017

HRC Side-Event: Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2017: A Dream for Unrepresented Nations and Peoples?


On the occasion of the 36th Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NVRPTT) in cooperation with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) will be organising a side-event entitled “Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2017: A Dream for Unrepresented Nations and Peoples?”. 

 

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 11:00 to 12:30

Palais des Nations, Room XV, Geneva, Switzerland

Side-event to the 36th Session of the UNHRC

 

In May 2017, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) presented their annual report. The 243-page document assesses violations of religion freedom in more than 35 countries and its overall conclusion is that the status of religious freedom is worsening in many parts of the world. The Commission named a total of 16 countries as “countries of particular concern”, including China, Iran, Syria and Viet Nam.

While freedom of religion is one of the core principles in international human rights, around the world, repressive governments oftentimes fail to protect vulnerable communities and thus, many religious groups are disproportionately affected. When governments choose not to combat discrimination on the basis of religion, it breeds an environment of tension and intolerance. Violations of freedom of religion or belief may exacerbate intolerance and often constitute early indicators of potential violence and conflicts.

Over the past few years, the world has witnessed a growing number of religiously motivated conflicts and displacement of persons. Across Africa, the Middle-East and Asia, millions of people have been forced from their homes due to religious persecution or the inability to practice their religion freely. Members of vulnerable groups fall victim to repressive and discriminatory policies, such as the criminalisation of religious activities and expression, allowing for broader human rights abuses.

Bringing together victims and activists, this side-event will offer a platform for unrepresented peoples to discuss the significance of freedom of religion as a human right and the wide-ranging consequences of systematic denial of this freedom by authoritarian or repressive regimes, based on their experience or first-hand accounts of religion persecution.

 

Speakers include:

Ms Mona Silavi, Representative of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation in Brussels

Ms Juweria Ali, Ogadeni women's rights activist, Ogaden Youth & Student Union (OYSU) Advocacy Chair & PhD candidate at the University of Westminster

Mr Dolkun Isa, General Secretary of the World Uyghur Congress

Mr Vien Thach, Chairman of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

Ms Attiya Gamri, President of the Assyrian Confederation of the European Union

 

The programme is available here.

For further information, please contact Julie Duval (j.duval@unpo.org).