What we do

Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB)

The pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ is central to all SDGs.

Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) is a fundamental and universal human right articulated in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other international human rights treaties. FoRB cuts across all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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.

PaRD’s FoRB Workstream was established in the South Africa 2021 Annual Forum and General Assembly of PaRD Members. It operates within PaRD’s mandate on the positive role of religion and belief in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance. 

Promoting Good Practices, Success Stories, and Engagement

Sustainability is only achievable in a fair and inclusive society, where no one is subject to inequality, discrimination or left behind because of their religion or belief. Accordingly, PaRD’s FoRB Workstream, which is member-initiated as well as member-driven, is grounded on three thematic pillars:

  1. Good Practices: Members share good practice relating to FoRB and sustainable development – either through reports and/or presentations.
  2. Capacity Development: Members develop and share training and educational materials on FoRB.
  3. Engagement: Members proactively network and engage in addressing and resolving FoRB infringements – of individuals practicing their religion and beliefs – at the national and local level.

The approach of the FoRB Workstream is to facilitate engagement in the outlined thematic pillars. The Workstream is inclusive of all religions and beliefs, and promotes dialogue, fosters peace and mutual respect while addressing potentially critical FoRB issues and resulting limitations of individual human rights reported by PaRD members. Supporting conflict prevention where possible and avoiding duplicating initiatives with other networks, the FoRB Workstream is essential to PaRD’s mission.

To effectively support the Workstream, the PaRD Secretariat disseminates member-initiated FoRB related communiques with members. Currently, the Workstream is supporting projects of PaRD members which tackle FoRB issues in local communities on the ground through interfaith dialogue, workshops, and capacity building.

Support in Reporting Violations of Freedom of Religion and Belief

How can you protect your rights?

There are multiple services that can be contacted to report a breach of rights. They can be used based on who the report is coming from and where it is best suited to be received. Listed below are selected entities that can be referred to when choosing the most appropriate route to take to report a breach of rights. Please be aware that this is not a complete list; there are other entities that might be suitable to be contacted.

Many countries have government agencies or departments dedicated to human rights or religious affairs. These agencies often have mechanisms for reporting religious freedom violations. You can contact them directly to report any incidents.

To get information on your country’s human rights procedures, see: https://www.ohchr.org/en/countries

Organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) often accept reports of violations and may investigate or raise awareness about them:

Bodies like the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the Organization of American States (OAS) have mechanisms for reporting human rights violations, including those related to religious freedom. You can contact their human rights offices or special rapporteurs to report violations.

In some cases, legal aid organisations may provide assistance or representation for individuals or groups facing religious discrimination or persecution. They may also accept reports of violations and provide guidance on legal recourse.

Related information

FoRB Workstream Leads

Filip Buff Pederson

Political Advisor, CKU (Centre for Church based Development) and Coordinator of the Danish Network on Religion and Development

Gaetan Roy

Permanent Representative for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to the United Nations in Geneva; Chairman of network-m; Board Member of the Association of Evangelical Missions (AEM)

Mejindarpal Kaur

PaRD Steering Board Member; International Legal Director at United Sikhs