NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Protecting freedom of thought and conscience within the international community of nations

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International religious freedom: A new era for advocacy in response to a new age of challenges and threats

Sponsors: The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and the Non-Governmental Organizations Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief
When: 1 March 2019, 11:00am ā€“ 12:30pm
Where: UN Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber

Overview: This past year marked 70 years since the international community formally recognized the right to freedom of religion or belief for all with the adoption of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Yet the threats to religious freedom remain severe, as there have been in the past few years widespread and severe violations of religious freedom, including genocide against religious minorities. At this critical moment, several of the highest-ranking leaders on international religious freedom come together for the first time at the United Nations to analyze global assaults on religious freedom and strategize responses. This historic event promises to build on the momentum of the first annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, hosted by the US government in July 2018, that brought together leaders from over eighty countries and presaged a new era for the right to freedom of religion or belief.

Objectives: The goals of the event are: 1) to promote a better understanding within the United Nations of the current state of international religious freedom, with a focus on some of the most pressing issues, such as restrictions on religious freedom under the guise of counterterrorism, blasphemy, apostasy and anti-conversion laws, and repression by non-state actors; 2) to raise awareness of efforts underway to increase religious freedom globally; and 3) to provide both governmental and non-governmental representatives with an opportunity to discuss plans for collaboration and best practices.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • H.E. Sam Brownback
    US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
  • Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama
    Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria
  • Dr. Hajnalka Juhasz
    Ministerial Commissioner and Member of the National Assembly of Hungary
  • H.E. Bernardito Auza (moderator)
    Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations

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