External Report

EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

A Right For All: Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN

27 September 2017
USCIRF Report Documenting ASEAN Member States’ Approach to Freedom of Religion or Belief

In ASEAN’s 50th year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom documents ASEAN’s and the Member States’ approaches to this fundamental right, underscores the religious freedom-related challenges in the region that transcend country borders, and emphasizes the strategic importance of robust U.S. engagement on these issues. Full report here

 

Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017 Database: Bangladesh

2017
Human Rights Without Frontiers Database on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Bangladesh

The website of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) puts a database of news from a variety of outside sources at the disposal of human rights research. In this instance, Freedom of Religion or Belief in Bangladesh. Full database here

 

Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017 Database: North Korea

2017
Human Rights Without Frontiers Database on Freedom of Religion or Belief in North Korea

The website of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) puts a database of news from a variety of outside sources at the disposal of human rights research. In this instance, Freedom of Religion or Belief in North Korea. Full database here

 

Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017 Database: Burma

2017
Human Rights Without Frontiers Database on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Burma

The website of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) puts a database of news from a variety of outside sources at the disposal of human rights research. In this instance, Freedom of Religion or Belief in Burma. Full database here

 

Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017 Database: Vietnam

2017
Human Rights Without Frontiers Database on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam

The website of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) puts a database of news from a variety of outside sources at the disposal of human rights research. In this instance, Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam. Full database here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Australia

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Australia

The U.S. embassy and the U.S. consulates general in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney regularly engaged government officials and a wide range of religious leaders, faith communities, and groups to promote religious freedom.  Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Brunei

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Brunei

The constitution states that while the official religion is the Shafi’i school of Islam, all other religions may be practiced “in peace and harmony.” The government permitted Shafi’i Muslims and members of non-Muslim religious minorities to practice their faiths, but has banned several religious groups it considers “deviant.” Find full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Burma

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Burma

Discrimination, harassment and violence against the Rohingya Muslim group continued. In particular, in response to deadly attacks against security forces in October and November in northern Rakhine State, security forces undertook action about which there were numerous allegations of abuses, including extrajudicial killings, rapes, beatings, mass arrests, and destruction of buildings. See full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: China (Including Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for China

The People’s Republic of China’s constitution states citizens have freedom of religious belief but limits protections for religious practice to “normal religious activities” and does not define “normal.” The government continued to exercise control over religion and restrict the activities and personal freedom of religious adherents when these were perceived to threaten state or Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interests. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Indonesia

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Indonesia

The constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the right to worship according to one’s own beliefs but states citizens must accept restrictions established by law to protect the rights of others and to satisfy “just demands based upon considerations of morality, religious values, security, and public order in a democratic society.” Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for DPRK

The constitution provides for freedom of religious beliefs. Despite the constitutional guarantee, the 2014 report of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Human Rights Situation of the DPRK concluded there was an almost complete denial by the government of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and, in many instances, violations of human rights committed by the government constituted crimes against humanity. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Malaysia

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Malaysia

The constitution states Islam is the “religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.” Federal and state governments have the power to control doctrine among Muslims and promote Sunni Islam above all other religious groups. Other forms of Islam are illegal and subject to action by religious authorities. Full report here

Human Rights Violations Against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State

12 January 2017
CSW Report Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Burma

On 9 October 2016 nine police officers died in an attack on two border guard posts in Rakhine State, on Burma’s border with Bangladesh. The Burmese military claimed this was an act of terrorism by a small group of Rohingya Muslims. The incident sparked a severe military offensive against civilians, which has led to the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State since 2012. Full report here

 

China: Freedom of Religion or Belief

19 October 2016
CSW Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief in China

Restrictions on the right to freedom of religion or belief are still a key concern in China. The Chinese constitution protects ‘normal’ religious activities (Article 36). In practice this refers to activities under the five officially recognized religious traditions. The reality for religion and belief communities in China is still very much a mixed picture, and conditions vary according to religion, location, ethnicity, attitude of local officials as well as other factors. Full report here

 

Total Denial: Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in North Korea

23 September 2016
CSW Report Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in N.Korea

Freedom of religion or belief remains severely suppressed and the regime is actively hostile to religion and religious believers, both domestically and internationally, and as a result, many North Koreans are suffering because of their faith, and the international community needs to act urgently to end impunity and ensure accountability. For the full CSW report click here

 

Report of the Special Rapporteur on FoRB on his visit to Vietnam.

30 January 2015
UN Report Positive and Negative Developments for Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam

The report presents the main findings of the country visit to Vietnam undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt, from 21 to 31 July 2014. After an analysis of Vietnamese legal framework and norms concerning FoRB, the Special Rapporteur identifies positive developments but also a number of serious problems. For full report see here

 

Indonesia: Pluralism in Peril

28 May 2014
CSW Report on the Rise of Religious Intolerance Across the Indonesian Archipelago

Indonesia’s pluralism is in peril, and almost all of Indonesia’s different religious communities are affected: Ahmadiyah, Shi’a and Sufi Muslims, Christians – both Protestant and Catholic – as well as Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians, Baha’is, adherents of traditional indigenous beliefs, and those of no religion, as illustrated by the case of Alexander Aan, jailed for two and a half years for declaring himself an atheist. Progressive, pluralistic minded Muslims are also under threat. Full report here

 

EUROPE

Russia – Jehovah’s Witness Bible, Jewish, Christian, Muslim Books Banned

29 September 2017
Forum 18 Report on Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia

Banned as “extremist”: Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Bible, other Jehovah’s Witness and Muslim books, an article on the Jewish concept of the Holy Land, a Jewish historical novel claimed to incite hatred of Catholics, a book on “Christian women persecuted for their faith” and an atheist slideshow. Full article here

 

Focus on Christian Refugees in Europe

2015
Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians Report on Violations of Freedom of Religion and Belief

The Austria-based “Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe” investigates, documents and reports cases of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe. The NGO informs international government institutions and reports to politicians, NGOs and the media. The Observatory is a member of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the EU. Full report here

 

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

“They Are Not Our Brothers” 

26 September 2017
Human Rights Watch Report on Hate Speech by Saudi Officials

The 62-page report documents that Saudi Arabia has permitted government-appointed religious scholars and clerics to refer to religious minorities in derogatory terms or demonize them in official documents and religious rulings that influence government decision-making. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Bahrain

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Bahrain

The constitution declares Islam to be the official religion and sharia to be a principal source for legislation. It provides for freedom of conscience, the inviolability of places of worship, and freedom to perform religious rites. The constitution guarantees the right to express and publish opinions provided these do not infringe on the “fundamental beliefs of Islamic doctrine.” Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Egypt

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Egypt

The constitution describes freedom of belief as “absolute” but only provides adherents of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism the right to practice their religion freely and to build houses of worship. The constitution specifies Islam as the state religion and the principles of sharia as the primary source of legislation. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Iran

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Iran

The constitution defines the country as an Islamic republic, and specifies Ja’afari Shia Islam as the official state religion. It states all laws must be based on “Islamic criteria” and official interpretation of sharia. The constitution states citizens shall enjoy rights, “in conformity with Islamic criteria.” The penal code specifies the death sentence for proselytizing and attempts by non-Muslims to convert Muslims. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Iraq

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Iraq

The constitution declares Islam to be the official religion, and states no law may be enacted contradicting the “established provisions of Islam.” The constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief and practice for Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, and Sabaean-Mandeans. The law, however, prohibits the practice of the Bahai Faith and the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam. Full report here

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Saudi Arabia

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Saudi Arabia

According to the 1992 Basic Law of Governance, the kingdom’s official religion is Islam and the constitution is the Quran and Sunna (traditions and practices based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad). The legal system is based on sharia as interpreted within the Hanbali School of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. Freedom of religion is not provided under the law and the government does not recognize the freedom to practice publicly any non-Muslim religion. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Syria

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Syria

The constitution declares the state shall respect all religions and shall ensure the freedom to perform religious rituals as long as these “do not disturb the public order.” There is no official state religion. Membership in certain types of religiously oriented organizations is illegal and punishable to different degrees, including by imprisonment or death. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Yemen

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Yemen

The constitution declares Islam to be the state religion and sharia the source of all legislation. It provides for freedom of thought and expression “within the limits of the law,” but omits mention of freedom of religion. The law prohibits denunciation of Islam, conversion from Islam to another religion, and proselytizing directed at Muslims. Full report here

 

Wilting in the Kurdish Sun: The Hopes and Fears of Religious Minorities in Northern Iraq

30 May 2017
USCIRF Report on Religious Discrimination in Northern Iraq

In recent years the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) has been a haven for minorities fleeing the turmoil and sectarian violence in the south of Iraq. The KRI offers religious freedoms that are comparatively robust as compared to those of its regional neighbors. Even so, troubling issues related to discrimination and even violence targeting ethnic and religious minorities exist, exacerbated by the KRI’s strained resources and security situation. Full report here

 

Egypt: Freedom of Religion or Belief

14 February 2017
CSW Report Analyzing the Situation of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Egypt

A repression of human rights in the name of counter terrorism has included a crackdown on civil society, with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights defenders experiencing what some in Egypt have described as the worst assault in history. Full report here

 

Turkey: Freedom of Religion or Belief and Freedom of Expression

20 April 2016
CSW Report Analyzing the Situation of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

This report analyses the situation of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey and outlines the key challenges faced by non-Sunni communities and individuals. It also discusses the implications of the continued government crackdown on the media and freedom of expression. See full report here

 

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, on his mission to Jordan

27 January 2014
UN Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Jordan

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief conducted a visit to Jordan from 2 to 10 September 2013. In this report, the Special Rapporteur commends the Government of Jordan for its commitment to religious diversity in the country and within the broader Arab region. For full report see here

 

Violence with Impunity: Acts of Aggression Against Iran’s Bahá’i Community

March 2013
A Special Report of the Bahá’i International Community on Violations of Freedom of Religion and Belief

For more than three decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has waged a widespread and systematic campaign of persecution against the country’s Bahá’í religious minority. Since 1979, more than 200 Bahá’ís have been executed, hundreds more imprisoned and tortured, tens of thousands denied employment, education, freedom of worship, and other rights. Full report here

 

Turkmenistan: A Systematic Challenge to Human Rights Commitments

1 April 2011
OSF Report Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan’s ongoing systematic violation of intertwined fundamental rights—such as freedom of religion or belief, of expression and of assembly—is a fundamental challenge to the international community’s commitment to human rights. For full report see here

 

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

“They Said We Are Their Slaves”

5 October 2017
Human Rights Watch Report on Sexual Violence by Religious Armed Groups in the Central African Republic

During nearly five years of conflict, armed groups have also brutalized women and girls. The predominantly Muslim Seleka and the largely Christian and animist militia known as “anti-balaka,” two main parties to the conflict, have both committed sexual slavery and rape across the country. Human Rights Watch documented fighters using sexual violence to punish women and girls, frequently along sectarian lines, as recently as May 2017. Full report here

 

Herders against Farmers: Nigeria’s Expanding Deadly Conflict

19 September 2017
International Crisis Group Report on Religious Conflict in Nigeria

The spread of conflict into southern states is aggravating already fragile relations among the country’s major regional, ethnic and religious groups. The south’s majority Christian communities resent the influx of predominantly Muslim herders, portrayed in some narratives as an ‘‘Islamisation force’’. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Angola

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Angola

The constitution defines the state as secular, prohibits religious discrimination, and provides for freedom of religion. The law requires religious groups to seek government recognition by meeting rigorous criteria. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Burkina Faso

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Burkina Faso

The constitution states the country is a secular state, and both it and other laws provide for the right of individuals to choose and change their religion and to practice the religion of their choice. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Central African Republic

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for

The interim constitution, known as the Transitional National Charter, and the new constitution, which came into effect on March 30, provide for freedom of religion and equal protection under the law regardless of religion. They prohibit all forms of religious intolerance and “religious fundamentalism.” Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Chad

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Chad

The constitution establishes the state as secular and affirms the separation of religion and state. It provides for freedom of religion and equality before the law without distinction as to religion. It prohibits “denominational propaganda” that inhibits national unity. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Democratic Republic of the Congo

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for DRC

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on religious belief. Catholics reported violence and harassment toward clergy members in response to their political activism. Armed men dressed in Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) uniforms killed a Catholic priest who ran an activist website documenting ethnic abuse. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Rwanda

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Rwanda

The constitution and other laws prohibit religious discrimination and provide for freedom of religion and worship. In January the Rwanda National Police (RNP) shot and killed an imam while in custody. RNP officers shot and killed three other Muslim community members in August in Bugarama. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Sudan

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Sudan

The Interim National Constitution (INC) provides for freedom of religious creed and the rights to worship, assemble, and maintain places of worship. Some laws and government practices are based on the government’s interpretation of a sharia system of jurisprudence and do not provide protections for religious minorities, including minority Muslim groups. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: South Sudan

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for South Sudan

The transitional constitution stipulates separation of religion and state, prohibits religious discrimination, and provides religious groups freedom to worship and assemble freely, organize themselves, teach, own property, receive financial contributions, communicate and issue publications on religious matters, and establish charitable institutions. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Nigeria

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Nigeria

The constitution bars the federal and state governments from adopting a state religion, prohibits religious discrimination, and provides for individuals’ freedom to choose, practice, propagate, or change their religion. Human rights groups reported the federal government often failed to prevent, quell, or respond to violence affecting religious groups. Full report here

 

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Eritrea

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Eritrea

The law and unimplemented constitution prohibit religious discrimination and provide for freedom of thought, conscience, and belief as well as the freedom to practice any religion. The government recognizes four officially registered religious groups: the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea. Full report here

 

Central African Republic: Freedom of Religion or Belief

15 November 2016
CSW Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief in CAR

While President Touadéra has a strong mandate and general legitimacy among the people, his government faces significant challenges. The causes of the conflict remain unresolved and approximately two thirds of the country is still under the control of the anti-Balaka and the Seleka. Full report here

 

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, on his visit to Sierra Leone 

23 December 2013
UN Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Republic of Sierra Leone

The report contains the findings and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on his visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone, which took place from 30 June to 5 July 2013. For full report see here

 

LATIN AMERICA

International Religious Freedom Report 2016: Cuba

August 2017
US Department of State Religious Freedom Report for Cuba

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on religion. The government and the Cuban Communist Party monitored religious groups through the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and continued to control most aspects of religious life. Full report here

 

Cuba: Freedom of Religion or Belief

6 February 2017
CSW Report Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Cuba

The brutal and public strategies used by the Cuban government to target religious groups, identified in CSW’s 2015 report, continued throughout 2016. These include public and arbitrary arrests, beatings, and interrogations in contexts such as going through airport security. CSW also received reports of more subtle tactics, including the spreading of disinformation about religious leaders. Full report here

 

Columbia: Freedom of Religion or Belief and Freedom of Conscience

26 February 2016
CSW Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Freedom of Conscience in Columbia

A significant percentage of the population is subjected to consistent and serious violations of their religious freedom, belief and conscience. In the wider population these violations take place within and as a part of the context of the armed conflict. See full report here

 

Global

Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws

20 September 2017
USCIRF Report on the 71 Countries which Have Blasphemy Laws

A U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, documents the 71 countries – ranging from Canada to Pakistan – that have blasphemy laws (as of June 2016). The individuals highlighted here are only a sample of those who have been negatively impacted by blasphemy laws.  Full report here

 

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: International Religious Freedom Report for 2016

August 2017
US Department of State Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief Worldwide

This annual report to Congress provides a detailed and factual overview of the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries and territories, and documents reports of violations and abuses committed by governments, terrorist groups, and individuals. For full report see here

 

Women and Religious Freedom: Synergies and Opportunities

17 July 2017
USCIRF Report on Women’s Rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief

While a common misperception persists that women’s rights to equality and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) are clashing rights, the two are actually indivisible and interrelated, a new USCIRF report finds. Full report here

 

Global Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief

May 2017
Cumberland Lodge Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief Worldwide

This briefing offers a cursory overview of global violations of freedom of religion or belief, including whether there are legitimate limitations to the right in practice. As violations and violators of freedom of religion or belief are  diverse,responses to them must also take into account the particularities of each context. For full report see here

 

United States Commission On International Religious Freedom 2017 Annual Report

April 2017
USCIRF Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief Worldwide

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. For full report see here

 

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief

17 January 2017
UN Report on Agenda for Freedom of Religion or Belief Worldwide

In this report, the new mandate holder, Ahmed Shaheed, presents an
overview of his perspective and vision for the mandate, identifying persistent challenges and emerging trends and presenting an agenda for operationalizing the right to freedom of religion or belief within and across the United Nations system and beyond. See full report here

 

Open Doors World Watch List 2017

January 2017
An Open Doors Survey of the 50 Countries in which it is hardest to be Christian

Asian countries rose up the list, with Afghanistan up one place to 3rd, Pakistan up two places to 4th, Bangladesh up nine places to 26th, Bhutan up eight to 30th and Sri Lanka joining the list at No. 45. Nepal narrowly missed being in the top 50, although the situation for Christians there still worsened. See report here

 

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

2 August 2016
UN Interim Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief Worldwide

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief,
Heiner Bielefeldt, provides an overview of his mandated activities since the
submission of his previous report to the General Assembly. Full report here

 

Religious Persecution and Refugees

23 June 2016
CSW Report on Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief and Persecution of Refugees

Nearly 60 million people worldwide are currently displaced because of conflict, violence and persecution – the highest number since the Second World War. Violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief are one of the key reasons why people are forced to leave their countries of origin. See full report here

 

Religious and Belief Prisoners in over 20 Countries World Annual Report 

2016
Human Rights Without Frontiers Report on FoRB Prisoners with Special Focus on Torture and Detention Conditions

Human Rights Without Frontiers calls upon the EU to implement its Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in order to request the release of peaceful FoRB prisoners. Full report here

 

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