NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief

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


The rights to freedom of religion or belief are protected as universal rights by several important international agreements.

They were first recognized in 1948 in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 of which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

These rights were then given the force of international law in 1966 by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (see Article 18), and further detailed in 1981 by the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

For a comprehensive list of international standards for freedom of religion or belief, click here.

To view our 2019 Letter Regarding EU Special Envoy, click here.