For legislators, officials and diplomats
States bear responsibility for ensuring that human rights are realised. Many of the resources on the learning platform can help you and a great place to start is by watching the introductory learning package films to make sure you understand the right itself. This page provides additional resources that can help you in your task as a human rights duty bearer. Resources range from UN and civil society guidance for legislators and officials on specific domestic policy issues, to official guidelines for the work of diplomats in promoting freedom of religion or belief in foreign policy and international development cooperation. You'll also find information about networks of parliamentarians and civil servants that work to promote freedom of religion or belief.
Toolkit for parliamentarians
A Primer on International Human Rights, Law and Standards on the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief
A great primer on FORB that’s ideal for legislators, lawyers and justice officials or anyone else seeking to understand the international legal interpretation of FORB. It covers a wide range of practical issues, from the right to display religious symbols to parent’s rights and includes concrete examples from case law. Produced by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). ICJ is a body of 60 eminent judges and lawyers from all regions of the world, that promotes and protects human rights through the Rule of Law, using legal expertise to develop and strengthen national and international justice systems.
NEW A guide for parliamentarians promoting freedom of religion or belief
This practical toolkit is designed to enable parliamentarians to advocate for the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) more effectively, through increasing their understanding of FoRB and of the national, regional and international mechanisms at their disposal for promoting and protecting the right. Produced by CSW and the International Panel of Parliamentarians on Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) and CSW.
Freedom of Religion or Belief and security: Policy guidance.
This new document on policy guidance for ensuring freedom of religion and belief and security is produced by The Organisation for security and Co-operation in Europe. The document addresses the intersection between freedom of religion or belief and sustainable security.
Thematic guidance for legislators and officials
Implementing UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 - A framework for inclusivity, pluralism and diversity
Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16/18 addresses “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” It commits States to address religious intolerance through the promotion of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and non-discrimination. This briefing, published by ARTICLE 19 provides guidance for states on implementing Res 16/18, particularly in relation to blasphemy and censorship.
Guidelines on the legal personality of religious and belief communities
These Guidelines seek to ensure that those involved in drafting and applying legislation in the area of the freedom of religion or belief, including civil society representatives, have at their disposal a benchmark document containing minimum international standards in the area of recognition of religious or belief communities. Published by the OSCE and the Venice Commission and available in English, Russian, Tajik, Turkish and Ukrainian.
Guidelines for review of legislation pertaining to religion or belief
These guidelines are designed to assist those involved in reviewing laws or draft legislation, for example to evaluate their compliance with international norms. Prepared by the ODIHR's Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief in consultation with the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. Available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Ukrainian.
Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence
The Rabat Plan of action is the result of a series of expert workshops on the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred organised by the OHCHR. Also available in French, Arabic and Bangla.
Toledo Guiding Principles on teaching about religions and beliefs in schools
Aimed at both legislators and schools, this handbook offers guidance on preparing curricula for teaching about religions and beliefs, preferred procedures for assuring fairness in the development of curricula, and standards for how they could be implemented. Developed by the ODIHR Advisory Council of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief in co-operation with education experts. Available in English and Spanish.
Hate Speech Explained
In this toolkit, ARTICLE 19 provides a guide to identifying ’hate speech‘ and how effectively counter it, while protecting the rights to freedom of expression and equality. It responds to a growing demand for clear guidance on identifying “hate
speech,” and for responding to the challenges ‘hate speech’ poses within a human rights framework.
Hate crimes: Guides to understanding, measuring, legislating and prosecuting hate crimes
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has produced a number of guides for legislators, prosecutors and for state or civil society organisations that collect data and monitor hate crimes. They include particular guides to understanding hate crimes against and the security needs of Jewish communities and Muslims.
Universal Code of Conduct for Holy Sites
Useful for both officials and faith communities, this is a practical code of conduct and policy for sacred places across the globe. Its main purposes are the preservation of holy sites for present and future generations, the safety of believers, and the promotion of interreligious cooperation. Available in many languages, the code was developed by the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, One World in Dialogue, Religions for Peace and Search for Common Ground, and is endorsed by thousands of religious leaders.
Conscientious objection to military service
This UN publication is intended as a guide for State officials responsible for implementing laws on conscientious objection, as well as Members of Parliament and Government officials involved in drafting laws on the subject. It's also intended to guide individuals who may be called to perform military service and are unsure of what their rights are.
Guidelines and tools for diplomats
Religion & Diplomacy online library
The religion and Diplomacy website is a tool of the Trans-Atlantic Policy Network on Religion and Development (TPNRD), a network of Diplomats and academics. The website is a portal to online resources dealing with the practical interface between religion and international affairs. The site publishes original policy reports, articles, and interviews and highlights key third-party publications relevant to diplomats and other practitioners working on religion-related issues, including FORB.
Guiding questions for analysing the state of FORB in a country
These questions can help you identify what dimensions of freedom of religion or belief are being violated in the country you work in or focus upon. The questions align with the topics taken up in the learning platforms films on FORB. Produced for the FORB Learning Platform by SMC.
EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief
The EU guidelines provide advice for diplomats within the European External Action Service and member state foreign ministries that may also be helpful for other diplomats.
Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Freedoms of Persons Belonging to Religious Minorities. Guidelines for the Norwegian Foreign Service
Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit How the FCO can help promote and protect this human right
Guidance for officers of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Networks of parliamentarians and diplomats
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) is a human rights intervention force of current and former parliamentarians, who use their unique positions and innovative means to prevent discrimination, uphold political freedom, and promote democracy and human rights throughout the region.
The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) is an informal network of parliamentarians and legislators from around the world committed to combatting religious persecution and advancing freedom of religion or belief, as defined by Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights. On the website you will also find information about national and regional groups in the Pakistan, Brazil, Latin America, the UK, Norway and Denmark. The following groups have their own websites:
UK All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief
A cross-party group of British parliamentarians who believe that International Freedom of Religion or Belief is a crucial human right and seek to raise its profile in Government, in Parliament, in the media and among the general public.
Danish cross party group on international freedom of religion or belief
A cross party group working to promote freedom of religion and religion in Danish foreign and development policy.