Human Rights Council: defending the right to freedom of religion or belief

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Protecting the Safety and Security of Minorities

(LWI) – During the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in partnership with the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) expressed concern over legislation and socio-cultural movements that hinder peaceful coexistence between people of different religions and beliefs.

The statement highlighted how public rhetoric, particularly on social media, by ethnoreligion-centric voices increasingly articulate exclusionary interpretations of the right to freedom of religion or belief and perpetuate discrimination.

The LWF and WCRC called on Member States to recognize that freedom of religion or belief is centered on justice and safeguarding civic space for safe, constructive and courageous dialogue among religious, civic, state stakeholders and academics.


Lutheran World Federation Statement

The Lutheran World Federation and its ecumenical partner, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, thank the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive report.

We remain deeply concerned about legislation and socio-cultural movements that impede peaceful coexistence between people of different religions and beliefs influenced by majority and minority dynamics in countries such as Denmark, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and the United States of America.

We have also observed an increase in public rhetoric, particularly on social media, by ethno-religious voices articulating exclusive interpretations of the right to freedom of religion or belief that perpetuate discrimination against sexual minorities, attack human rights defenders rights and downplay the urgency of addressing climate crises, especially from the voices of marginalized indigenous peoples.

We therefore call on Member States to recognize that freedom of religion or belief lies within justice and to preserve civic space for safe, constructive and courageous dialogue between religious leaders and young leaders as well as policy makers.

We encourage the Special Rapporteur to continue his efforts and facilitate further multi-stakeholder consultations with a stronger youth leadership component. This will ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief is not instrumentalized in ways that undermine the safety and security of minorities.


Read the full statement (PDF)

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