Target audience : A more theoretical version of ‘A freedom of religion or belief map of our town’, this exercise is well suited to more formal settings, for example with decisionmakers, officials or national faith leaders. (Either exercise can work well with civil society organisations and human rights defenders.)
To enable participants to deepen their knowledge and understanding of freedom of religion or belief (FORB) violations in their context.
To help participants develop analysis skills in order to recognise patterns of human rights violations, using Candelin’s ‘Three phases of persecution’ model (Disinformation – Discrimination – Violence).
An exercise that combines groupwork and plenary discussion to help participants define violations of FORB in their context and analyse them according to Candelin’s three-phase model of persecution. Requires a basic understanding of FORB among participants.
Flipchart paper, marker pens and post-it notes in different colours for the different groups.
One handout of a simplified version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for each participant.
Flipchart sheet/PowerPoint slide with group discussion questions written up (see below).
Prepare a short, 10 min knowledge input based on Candelin’s three phases of persecution model: disinformation – discrimination – violence. Choose the methodology that will work best for your audience from the following options:
Create your input based on the booklet ’Freedom of religion or belief for everyone’ from Stefanus Alliance International. Try to include examples from your own context that relate to each phase and that illustrate the State being both passive and active in violations.
Give a short 10 min knowledge input based on Candelin’s three phases of persecution model: disinformation – discrimination – violence. Allow time for questions afterwards from participants.
Explain that the participants are now are going to work together in small groups to use the three-phase model to analyse violations of FORB happening in their own context.
GROUPWORK AND PRESENTATIONS (45 MIN)
Divide participants into small groups. Ask them to appoint a spokesperson who will present back to the plenary. Point to a flipchart/PowerPoint slide and ask them to discuss the following groupwork questions, writing their answers on a flipchart.
What violations of freedom of religion or belief do you see in your country today? List examples for each of the different phases of the persecution model: disinformation, discrimination and violence. For each example you list, answer:
Who is committing the wrongdoing? Is the state active or passive?
Who are the victims?
Do other religious groups suffer from the same restriction/violation?
What dimensions of freedom of religion or belief are violated in these examples?
What other human rights are being violated?
TIP! Circulate among the groups during the discussion. Encourage them to think beyond their own religious community.
Allow 20 minutes for group discussions, then invite each group to present their findings.
PLENARY DISCUSSION (15 MIN)
Lead the discussion with the following questions:
What did you think of this exercise?
Was there anything new to you?
Do you agree with the findings of the other groups?
What would you say is the greatest challenge to freedom of religion or belief in your context/society?
To what extent are the problems related to religion? Are there other factors behind the disinformation, discrimination and violence – for example ethnicity, social status, economic status, political affiliation, gender, language? How can you find out?
Conclude the exercise by thanking everyone for their hard work and for their engagement in the discussion.
In contexts where FORB issues are perceived as particularly controversial and/or sensitive, it may be helpful for participants to use the three-phase model to analyse external contexts, rather than applying it directly to their own contexts. Case studies to choose from are included in the Stefanus Alliance booklet ‘Freedom of religion or belief for everyone’, or you can explore the collection of case studies in Part 2 of the toolkit to find alternatives – see the ‘Index of case studies’ on page 275.
Choose a different case study for each small group to work with. Use the same methodology as above but cut the third groupwork question and use the following plenary discussion questions instead:
Was it useful to analyse a case like this? In what ways?
Would you say that any of the FORB violations/restrictions we read about are justified/legitimate/necessary/proportional? Why/why not?
How are the violations affecting the victims’ lives as a whole, (rather than just their ability to believe and to practice)?
Is it always the same religious group/belief community that is the victim all over the world? Why or why not?
(Optional) Is there any learning that you could usefully apply to your own context? (Invite participants to share reflections if they feel comfortable doing so.)