UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion hears from Civil Society

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion hears from Civil Society


Geneva Delegates

The Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Nazila Ghanea, continued today in Room XX, where the Ghanea heard from civil society organisations regarding her new appointment and her report. 

Most organisations supported Ghanea’s three-way methodology to her mandate and encouraged her honest and practical approach. Multiple organisations encouraged the Special Rapporteur to pay close attention to freedom of religion or belief in the context of minorities: specifically in instances of sexual orientation, racialized minorities and identity based discrimination. 

Moving forward, the Special Rapporteur highlighted her takeaways from the discussions and plans for the next steps in her mandate. Specifically, the Ghanea stressed that the freedom to religion or belief is a birth right protected under the article 18 of the ICCPR and article 9 of the UDHR. Quoting Persian poet, Saadi Shirazi, in saying “Human beings are body parts of each other, In creation they are indeed of one essence. If a body part is afflicted with pain, Other body parts uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, The name of human you shall not retain” (Shirazi, “Boni Adam”). 

Ghanea concluded her session in calling for greater joint action in tackling freedom of religion or belief, stating that it is a right not just for “export, but for serious effort and realisation at home.” Moving forward, Ghanea will attempt to address freedom of religion or belief from a more on the ground, grassroots perspective, as well as prohibition of torture and the right to religion or belief for refugees.