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International standards on freedom of religion or belief

The primary sources of law underpinning the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief are article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

The work of the mandate is also guided by the relevant articles of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

The mandate is also guided by relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations (see resolutions), as well as relevant jurisprudence of the treaty bodies and provisions of international humanitarian law. The Special Rapporteur also takes into account relevant human rights instruments and jurisprudence at the regional level.

Digest on freedom of religion or belief

I. FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
1. Freedom to adopt, change or renounce a religion or belief
2. Freedom from coercion
3. The right to manifest one's religion or belief
a) Freedom to worship
b) Places of worship
c) Religious symbols
d) Observance of holidays and days of rest
e) Appointing clergy
f) Teaching and disseminating materials (including missionary activity)
g) The right of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children
h) Registration
i ) Communicate with individuals and communities on religious matters at the national and international level
j) Establish and maintain charitable and humanitarian institutions/solicit and receive funding
k) Conscientious objection
II. DISCRIMINATION
1. Discrimination on the basis of religion or belief/inter-religious discrimination/tolerance
2. State religion
III. VULNERABLE GROUPS
1. Women
2. Persons deprived of their liberty
3. Refugees
4. Children
5. Minorities
6. Migrant workers
IV. INTERSECTION OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF WITH OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS
1. Freedom of expression including questions related to religious conflicts, religious intolerance and extremism
2. Right to life, right to liberty
3. Prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
V. CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES
1. Derogation
2. Limitation
3. Legislative issues
4. Defenders of freedom of religion or belief and non-governmental organizations
References

FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

Freedom to adopt, change or renounce a religion or belief
[25 years mandate practice]

UDHR
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief [...]."
ICCPR
Art. 18 (1): "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice [...]."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 1 (1): "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice [...]."
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 3: "Article 18 does not permit any limitations whatsoever on the freedom of thought and conscience or the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of one's choice; ".
Para . 5: "The Committee observes that the freedom to 'have or to adopt' a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to retain one's religion or belief."

Freedom from coercion
[25 years mandate practice]

UDHR
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom [...] either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and
observance."
ICCPR
Art. 18 (2): "No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 1 (2): "No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have a religion or belief of his choice."
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 5: "Article 18.2 bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to their religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert. Policies or practices having the same intention or effect, such as, for example, those restricting access to education, medical care, employment or the rights guaranteed by article 25 and other provisions of the Covenant, are similarly inconsistent with article 18.2. The same protection is enjoyed by holders of all beliefs of a non-religious nature."

The right to manifest one's religion or belief
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 18 (1): "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom [...] either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching."
Art. 18 (3): "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 1 (1): "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching."
Art. 1 (3): "Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "The freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching encompasses a broad range of acts. The concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including the building of places of worship, the use of ritual formulae, and objects, the display of symbols, and the observance of holidays and days of rest. The observance and practice of religion or belief may include not only ceremonial acts but also such customs as the observance of dietary regulations, the wearing of distinctive clothing or head coverings, participation in rituals associated with certain stages of life, and the use of a particular language, customarily spoken by a group. In addition, the practice and teaching of religion or belief includes acts integral to the conduct by religious groups of their basic affairs, such as freedom to choose their religious leaders, priests and teachers, the freedom to establish seminaries or religious schools and the freedom to prepare and distribute religious texts or publications."

Freedom to worship
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (a): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief [...];".
Art. 6 (c): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To make, acquire and use the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;".
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 4 (d)), Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 (paragraph 9(g)) and General Assembly resolution 65/211 (paragraph 12 (g))
Urges States "To ensure, in particular, the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief [...]."
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "The concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including [...] the use of ritual formulae, and objects [...]."

Places of worship
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (a): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, and to establish and maintain places for these purposes;".
Human Rights Council resolution 6/37
9 (e): The Human Rights Council urges States, "To exert the utmost efforts, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international human rights and humanitarian law, to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are fully respected and protected and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to desecration or destruction;".
9 (g): The Human Rights Council urges States, "To ensure, in particular, the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief and to establish and maintain places for these purposes [...];".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "The concept of worship extends to [...] the building of places of worship."

Religious symbols
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (c): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;".
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40
4 (b): The Commission on Human Rights urges States, "To exert the utmost efforts, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international human rights law, to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and religious expressions are fully respected and protected and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to desecration or destruction;".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "The concept of worship extends to [...] the display of symbols".
Para . 4: "The observance and practice of religion or belief may include not only ceremonial acts but also such customs as [...] the wearing of distinctive clothing or head coverings [...]."

Observance of holidays and days of rest
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (h): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To observe days of rest and to celebrate holidays and ceremonies in accordance with the precepts of one's religion or belief;".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "The concept of worship extends to [...] the observance of holidays and days of rest."

Appointing clergy
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (g): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To train, appoint, elect or designate by succession appropriate leaders [...]".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "In addition, the practice and teaching of religion or belief includes acts integral to the conduct by religious groups of their basic affairs, such as the freedom to choose their religious leaders, priests and teachers [...]."

Teaching and disseminating materials (including missionary activity)
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (d): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas;".
Art. 6 (e): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To teach a religion or belief in places suitable for these purposes."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 4 (d)) and Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 (paragraph 9 (g))
Urges States, "To ensure, in particular, [...] the right of all persons to write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 4: "In addition, the practice and teaching of religion or belief includes acts integral to the conduct by religious groups of their basic affairs, [...] the freedom to establish seminaries or religious schools and the freedom to prepare and distribute religious texts or publications."

The right of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 18 (4): "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions."
CRC
Art. 14 (2): "States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child [...] (c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;".
ICESCR
Art. 13 (3): "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to [...] ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions."
Migrant Workers Convention
Art. 12 (4): "States Parties to the present Convention undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents, at least one of whom is a migrant worker, and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 5:
1. The parents or, as the case may be, the legal guardians of the child have the right to organize the life within the family in accordance with their religion or belief and bearing in mind the moral education in which they believe the child should be brought up.
2. Every child shall enjoy the right to have access to education in the matter of religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, and shall not be compelled to receive teaching on religion or belief against the wishes of his parents or legal guardians, the best interests of the child being the guiding principle.
4. In the case of a child who is not under the care either of his parents or of legal guardians, due account shall be taken of their expressed wishes or of any other proof of their wishes in the matter of religion or belief, the best interests of the child being the guiding principle.

Registration
[25 years mandate practice]

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraphs 4 (c) and 4 (e)) and Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 (paragraphs 12 (e) and 12 (h))
Urges States, "To review, whenever relevant, existing registration practices in order to ensure the right of all persons to manifest their religion or belief, alone or in community with others and in public or in private;".
Urges States, "To ensure that, in accordance with appropriate national legislation and in conformity with international human rights law, the freedom for all persons and members of groups to establish and maintain religious, charitable or humanitarian institutions is fully respected and protected."

Communicate with individuals and communities on religious matters at the national and international level
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 ( i ): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in matters of religion and belief at the national and international levels."

Establish and maintain charitable and humanitarian institutions/solicit and receive funding
[25 years mandate practice]

1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 6 (b): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To establish and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions;".
Art. 6 (f): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, "To solicit and receive voluntary financial and other contributions from individuals and institutions."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 4 (e)) and Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 (paragraph 12 (h))
Urges States, "To ensure that, in accordance with appropriate national legislation and in conformity with international human rights law, the freedom for all persons and members of groups to establish and maintain religious, charitable or humanitarian institutions is fully respected and protected."

Conscientious objection
[25 years mandate practice]

Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 11: "Many individuals have claimed the right to refuse to perform military service (conscientious objection) on the basis that such right derives from their freedoms under article 18. In response to such claims, a growing number of States have in their laws exempted from compulsory military service citizens who genuinely hold religious or other beliefs that forbid the performance of military service and replaced it with alternative national service. The Covenant does not explicitly refer to a right to conscientious objection, but the Committee believes that such a right can be derived from article 18, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force may seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one's religion or belief. When this right is recognized by law or practice, there shall be no differentiation among conscientious objectors on the basis of the nature of their particular beliefs; likewise, there shall be no discrimination against conscientious objectors because they have failed to perform military service. The Committee invites States parties to report on the conditions under which persons can be exempted from military service on the basis of their rights under article 18 and on the nature and length of alternative national service."

DISCRIMINATION

Discrimination on the basis of religion or belief/inter-religious discrimination/tolerance
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 2 (1): "Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as [...]
religion [...]."
Art. 5 (1): "Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant."
Art. 26: "All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as [...] religion [...]."
Art. 27: " In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language."
ICERD
Art. 5: "[...] States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: [...] (d) Other civil rights, in particular: [...] (vii) The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion".
ICESCR
Art. 2 (2): "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind such as [...] religion [...]."
CRC
Art. 30: "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 2 (1): "No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on the grounds of religion or other belief."
Art. 3: "Discrimination between human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between
nations."
Art. 4 (1): "All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life."
Art. 4 (2): "All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40
4 (g): The Commission on Human Rights urges States, "To ensure that all public officials and civil servants, including members of law enforcement bodies, the military and educators, in the course of their official duties, respect different religions and beliefs and do not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief, and that all necessary and appropriate education or training is provided;".
7: The Commission on Human Rights, "Expresses concern at the persistence of institutionalized social intolerance and discrimination practised in the name of religion or belief against many communities;".
8: The Commission on Human Rights urges States to step up their efforts to eliminate intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, notably by: "( a ) Taking all necessary and appropriate action, in conformity with international standards of human rights, to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by intolerance based on religion or belief, with particular regard to religious minorities, and also to devote particular attention to practices that violate the human rights of women and discriminate against women, including in the exercise of their right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; ( b ) Promoting and encouraging, through education and other means, understanding, tolerance and respect in all matters relating to freedom of religion or belief; ( c ) Making all appropriate efforts to encourage those engaged in teaching to cultivate respect for all religions or beliefs, thereby promoting mutual understanding and tolerance;".
9: The Commission on Human Rights, "Recognizes that the exercise of tolerance and non-discrimination by all actors in society is necessary for the full realization of the aims of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and invites Governments, religious bodies and civil society to continue to undertake dialogue at all levels to promote greater tolerance, respect and understanding;".
10: The Commission on Human Rights, "Emphasizes the importance of a continued and strengthened dialogue among and within religions or beliefs, encompassed by the dialogue among civilizations, to promote greater tolerance, respect and mutual understanding;".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 2: "The Committee therefore views with concern any tendency to discriminate against any religion or belief for any reason, including the fact that they are newly established, or represent religious minorities that may be the subject of hostility on the part of a predominant religious community."

State religion
[25 years mandate practice]

Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 9: "The fact that a religion is recognized as a State religion or that it is established as official or traditional or that its followers comprise the majority of the population, shall not result in any impairment of the enjoyment of any of the rights under the Covenant, including articles 18 and 27, nor in any discrimination against adherents to other religions or non-believers. In particular, certain measures discriminating against the latter, such as measures restricting eligibility for government service to members of the predominant religion or giving economic privileges to them or imposing special restrictions on the practice of other faiths, are not in accordance with the prohibition of discrimination based on religion or belief and the guarantee of equal protection under article 26. The measures contemplated by article 20, paragraph 2, of the Covenant constitute important safeguards against infringement of the rights of religious minorities and of other religious groups to exercise the rights guaranteed by articles 18 and 27, and against acts of violence or persecution directed towards those groups. The Committee wishes to be informed of measures taken by States parties concerned to protect the practices of all religions or beliefs from infringement and to protect their followers from discrimination. Similarly, information as to respect for the rights of religious minorities under article 27 is necessary for the Committee to assess the extent to which the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief has been implemented by States parties. States parties concerned should also include in their reports information relating to practices considered by their laws and jurisprudence to be punishable as blasphemous."
Para . 10: "If a set of beliefs is treated as official ideology in constitutions, statutes, proclamations of ruling parties, etc., or in actual practice, this shall not result in any impairment of the freedoms under article 18 or any other rights recognized under the Covenant nor in any discrimination against persons who do not accept the official ideology or who oppose it."

VULNERABLE GROUPS

Women
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 5 (1): "Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant."
Art. 18 (3): "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."
CEDAW
Art. 2: "States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women and, to this end, undertake:
(a) To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate means, the practical realization of this principle;
(b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women;
(c) To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of discrimination;
(d) To refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall act in conformity with this obligation;
(e) To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise;
(f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;
(g) To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women."
Art. 3: "States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men."
ICESCR
Art. 2 (2): "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 8: "Nothing in the present Declaration shall be construed as restricting or derogating from any right defined in the UDHR and the Covenants;".
Human Rights Council resolution 6/37
9. Urges States […] "(c) To ensure that appropriate measures are taken in order to adequately and effectively guarantee the freedom of religion or belief of women […]";
11. "Invites all actors to address in the context of that dialogue, inter alia, the following issues within the framework of international human rights: […] (b) The situations of violence and discrimination that affect many women as well as individuals from other vulnerable groups in the name of religion or belief or due to cultural and traditional practices;"
12. "Emphasizes the importance of a continued and strengthened dialogue among and within religions or beliefs, at all levels and with a broader participation including of women, to promote greater tolerance, respect and mutual understanding";
18. "Decides therefore to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief for a further period of three years and, in this context, invites the Special Rapporteur: […] (d) To continue to apply a gender perspective, inter alia, through the identification of gender-specific abuses, in the reporting process, including in information collection and in recommendations".
Human Rights Committee general comment 28
Para . 13: "States parties should provide information on any specific regulation of clothing to be worn by women in public. The Committee stresses that such regulations may involve a violation of a number of rights guaranteed by the Covenant, such as: article 26, on non-discrimination; article 7, if corporal punishment is imposed in order to enforce such a regulation; article 9, when failure to comply with the regulation is punished by arrest; article 12, if liberty of movement is subject to such a constraint; article 17, which guarantees all persons the right to privacy without arbitrary or unlawful interference; articles 18 and 19, when women are subjected to clothing requirements that are not in keeping with their religion or their right of self-expression; and, lastly, article 27, when the clothing requirements conflict with the culture to which the woman can lay a claim."
Para . 19: "The right of everyone under article 16 to be recognized everywhere as a person before the law is particularly pertinent for women, who often see it curtailed by reason of sex or marital status. This right implies that the capacity of women to own property, to enter into a contract or to exercise other civil rights may not be restricted on the basis of marital status or any other discriminatory ground. It also implies that women may not be treated as objects to be given, together with the property of the deceased husband, to his family. States must provide information on laws or practices that prevent women from being treated or from functioning as full legal persons and the measures taken to eradicate laws or practices that allow such treatment."
Para . 21: "States parties must take measures to ensure that freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the freedom to adopt the religion or belief of one's choice - including the freedom to change religion or belief and to express one's religion or belief - will be guaranteed and protected in law and in practice for both men and women, on the same terms and without discrimination. These freedoms, protected by article 18, must not be subject to restrictions other than those authorized by the Covenant and must not be constrained by, inter alia, rules requiring permission from third parties, or by interference from fathers, husbands, brothers or others. Article 18 may not be relied upon to justify discrimination against women by reference to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; States parties should therefore provide information on the status of women as regards their freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and indicate what steps they have taken or intend to take both to eliminate and prevent infringements of these freedoms in respect of women and to protect their right not to be discriminated against."

Persons deprived of their liberty
[25 years mandate practice]

Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 8: "Persons already subject to certain legitimate constraints, such as prisoners, continue to enjoy their rights to manifest their religion or belief to the fullest extent compatible with the specific nature of the constraint. States parties' reports should provide information on the full scope and effects of limitations under article 18.3, both as a matter of law and of their application in specific circumstances."
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
Rule 41:
"(1) If the institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the same religion, a qualified representative of that religion shall be appointed or approved. If the number of prisoners justifies it and conditions permit, the arrangement should be on a full-time basis.
(2) A qualified representative appointed or approved under paragraph (1) shall be allowed to hold regular services and to pay pastoral visits in private to prisoners of his religion at proper times.
(3) Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be refused to any prisoner. On the other hand, if any prisoner should object to a visit of any religious representative, his attitude shall be fully respected."
Rule 42: "So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his religious life by attending the services provided in the institution and having in his possession the books of religious observance and instruction of his denomination."

Refugees
[25 years mandate practice]

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
Art. 4: "The Contracting State shall accord to refugees within their territories treatment at least as favourable as that accorded to their nationals with respect to freedom to practise their religion and freedom as regards the religious education of their
children."
Art. 33: "No Contracting State shall expel or return (' refouler ') a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."
General Assembly resolution 65/211
"8. Recognizes with concern the situation of persons in vulnerable situations, including […] refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons […], as regards their ability to freely exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief;"

Children
[25 years mandate practice]

CRC
Art. 14 (1): "States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."
Art. 14 (2): "States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child [...] (c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;".
Art. 30: "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 5 (3): "The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the ground of religion or belief. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, respect for freedom of religion or belief of others, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men."
Art. 5 (5): "Practices of a religion or belief in which a child is brought up must not be injurious to his physical or mental health or to his full development, taking into account article 1, paragraph 3, of the present Declaration."

Minorities
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 27: " In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language."
CRC
Art. 30: "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language."
General Assembly Declaration 47/135
Art. 1 (1): "States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity."
Art. 2 (1): "Persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (hereinafter referred to as persons belonging to minorities) have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely and without interference or any form of discrimination."

Migrant Workers
[25 years mandate practice]

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Art. 12 (1): "Migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of their choice and freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private to manifest their religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching."
Art. 12 (2): "Migrant workers and members of their families shall not be subject to coercion that would impair their freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of their choice."
Art. 12 (4): "States Parties to the present Convention undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents, at least one of whom is a migrant worker, and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions."

INTERSECTION OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF WITH OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS

Freedom of expression including questions related to religious conflicts, religious intolerance and extremism
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 19:
"1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order ( ordre public ), or of public health or morals."
Art. 20:
"1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40
5 (a): In which the Commission on Human Rights invites the Special Rapporteur to address the rise of religious extremism affecting religions in all parts of the world.
5 (c): In which the Commission on Human Rights invites the Special Rapporteur to address the issue of the use of religion or belief for ends inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations and other relevant instruments of the
United Nations.
6: The Commission on Human Rights, "Recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of intolerance and violence directed against members of many religious communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia , anti-Semitism and Christianophobia ;".
9: The Commission on Human Rights, "Recognizes that the exercise of tolerance and non-discrimination by all actors in society is necessary for the full realization of the aims of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and invites Governments, religious bodies and civil society to continue to undertake dialogue at all levels to promote greater tolerance, respect and understanding;".
10: The Commission on Human Rights, " Emphasizes the importance of a continued and strengthened dialogue among and within religions or beliefs, encompassed by the dialogue among civilizations, to promote greater tolerance, respect and mutual understanding;".
11: The Commission on Human Rights, " Also emphasizes that equating any religion with terrorism should be avoided as this may have adverse consequences on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief of all members of the religious communities concerned;".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 7: "In accordance with article 20, no manifestation of religion or belief may amount to propaganda for war or advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. As stated by the Committee in its general comment 11 [19], States parties are under the obligation to enact laws to prohibit such acts."

Right to life, right to liberty
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 6:
"1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court."
Art. 9 (1): "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 4 (f)) and Human Rights Council 6/37 (paragraph 9 (i))
Urges States to ensure that on account of religion or belief "no one within their jurisdiction is deprived of the right to life, liberty, or security of person, […] subjected to torture or arbitrary arrest or detention […] and to bring to justice all perpetrators of violations of these rights;".
Economic and Social Council resolution 1984/50
Para . 1: " In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may be imposed only for the most serious crimes, it being understood that their scope should not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences."

Prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 7: " No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Convention against Torture
Art. 1: " For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as [...] punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, [...] or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."
Art. 16: " Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. "
CEDAW
Art. 5 (a): States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, "To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40
4.f: The Commission on Human Rights urges States, "To ensure that no one within their jurisdiction is deprived of the right to life, liberty, or security of person because of religion or belief and that no one is subjected to torture or arbitrary arrest or detention on that account, and to bring to justice all perpetrators of violations of these rights;".
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/39
7: The Commission on Human Rights, "Reminds Governments that corporal punishment, including of children, can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or even to torture;".
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/32
5: The Commission on Human Rights, "Reminds Governments that corporal punishment, including of children, can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or even to torture;".
General Assembly Declaration 48/104
Art. 4 (c): States should, "Exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons."
Human Rights Committee general comment 20
Para . 5: " In the Committee's view, moreover, the prohibition [of torture] must extend to corporal punishment, including excessive chastisement ordered as punishment for a crime or as an educative or disciplinary measure."

CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES

Derogation
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 4 (1): "In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin."
Art. 4 (2): "No derogation from articles [...] 18 may be made under this provision."

Limitation
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 18 (3): "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."
CRC
Art. 14 (3): "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."
Migrant Workers Convention
Art. 12 (3): "Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 12) and Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 (paragraph 14)
"Further emphasizes that, as underlined by the Human Rights Committee, restrictions on the freedom to manifest religion or belief are permitted only if limitations are prescribed by law, are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, and are applied in a manner that does not vitiate the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;".
Human Rights Committee general comment 22
Para . 8: "Article 18.3 permits restrictions on the freedom to manifest religion or belief only if limitations are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. The freedom from coercion to have or to adopt a religion or belief and the liberty of parents and guardians to ensure religious and moral education cannot be restricted. In interpreting the scope of permissible limitation clauses, States parties should proceed from the need to protect the rights guaranteed under the Covenant, including the right to equality and non-discrimination on all grounds specified in articles 2, 3 and 26. Limitations imposed must be established by law and must not be applied in a manner that would vitiate the rights guaranteed in article 18. The Committee observes that paragraph 3 of article 18 is to be strictly interpreted: restrictions are not allowed on grounds not specified there, even if they would be allowed as restrictions to other rights protected in the Covenant, such as national security. Limitations may be applied only for those purposes for which they were prescribed and must be directly related and proportionate to the specific need on which they are predicated. Restrictions may not be imposed for discriminatory purposes or applied in a discriminatory manner. The Committee observes that the concept of morals derives from many social, philosophical and religious traditions; consequently, limitations on the freedom to manifest a religion or belief for the purpose of protecting morals must be based on principles not deriving exclusively from a single tradition. [...]".

Legislative issues
[25 years mandate practice]

ICCPR
Art. 2 (2): "Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant."
ICESCR
Art. 2 (1): "Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures."
CEDAW
Art. 3: "States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men."
1981 Declaration of the General Assembly
Art. 4 (2): "All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination."
Art. 7: "The rights and freedoms set forth in the present Declaration shall be accorded in national legislation in such a manner that everyone shall be able to avail himself of such rights and freedoms in practice."
Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 4 (a)) and Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 (paragraph 9 (a))
Urges States, "To ensure that their constitutional and legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief to all without distinction, inter alia by the provision of effective remedies in cases where the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, the right to practise freely one's religion, including the right to change one's religion or belief, is violated;".

Defenders of freedom of religion or belief and non-governmental organizations
[25 years mandate practice]

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40 (paragraph 17) and General Assembly resolution 64/164 (paragraph 13)
"Welcomes and encourages the continuing efforts of non-governmental organizations and bodies and groups based on religion or belief to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and further encourages their work in promoting freedom of religion or belief and in highlighting cases of religious intolerance, discrimination and persecution;".

References
·      International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976.
·      International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and entered into force on 3 January 1976.
·      International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965 and entered into force on 4 January 1969.
·      Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 and entered into force on 3 September 1981.
·      Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984 and entered into force on 26 June 1987.
·      Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990.
·      International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (MWC), Adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/158 of 18 December 1990 and entered into force on 1 July 2003.
·      Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Adopted on 28 July 1951 by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons convened under General Assembly resolution 429 (V) of 14 December 1950 and entered into force on 22 April 1954.
·      General Assembly Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, Resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981.
·      General Assembly Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, Resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992.
·      General Assembly Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, Resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993.
·      Commission on Human Rights Resolution on Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief, Resolution 2005/40 of 19 April 2005.
·      Commission on Human Rights Resolution on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Resolution 2005/39 of 19 April 2005.
·      Commission on Human Rights Resolution on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Resolution 2003/32 of 23 April 2003.
·      General Comment No. 20 concerning Prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment (Art. 7), Human Rights Committee, 10 March 1992.
·      General Comment No. 22 on The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion ( Art. 18), Human Rights Committee, 30 July 1993.
·      General Comment No. 28 on Equality of rights between men and women (Art. 3), Human Rights Committee, 29 March 2000.
·      Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977.
·              Economic and Social Council Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty, Resolution 1984/50 of 25 May 1984. Endorsed by General Assembly resolution 39/118 on 14 December 1984.