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28th Session of the Human Rights Council: Freedom of Religion or Belief

10 Mar 2015

STATEMENT INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION

28TH SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

10 March 2015
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Delivered by John Burley

 

Thank you Mr. President,
The International Development Law Organization – the only inter-governmental organization devoted exclusively to the rule of law - considers that strong legal frameworks informed by human rights principles underpinning the rule of law can play a critical role in promoting and protecting freedom of religion or belief.


Recent examples of violence committed under pretexts of religious intolerance have shocked the global conscience. At IDLO, we believe that laws can be used effectively to promote mutual understanding of one another’s differences, to help prevent conflict between or among religious groups, and to protect the rights of religious minorities. 
Too often however, the law has been used to restrict freedom of religion or belief and its exercise by members of minority groups. In the absence of laws and institutions promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief and protecting religious minorities, extremist elements can thrive, intimidating the population and government, and dominating the political agenda. 


IDLO welcomes the recent Reports of the Special Rapporteur. We fully embrace the principles enshrined in the Rabat Plan of Action and Resolution 16/18 to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief.


IDLO is committed to supporting the right to freedom of religion or belief as an integral part of the catalogue of human rights to which every individual is legally entitled. As part of this commitment, IDLO is exploring how different countries have dealt with these complex issues, and how the rule of law has been used to promote diversity over uniformity.  With the support of the Government of Italy, IDLO will be sharing good practices and lessons derived from our research, with the hope that they can enhance the global dialogue and drive pragmatic action to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief. 

 

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The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.