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About the mandate

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights appointed further to resolution 1986/20 a “Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance”. In 2000, the Commission on Human Rights decided to change the mandate title to “Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief”, which was subsequently endorsed by ECOSOC decision 2000/261 and welcomed by General Assembly resolution 55/97.

The Special Rapporteur has been mandated through Human Rights Council resolution 6/37

  • to promote the adoption of measures at the national, regional and international levels to ensure the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief;
  • to identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and present recommendations on ways and means to overcome such obstacles;
  • to continue her/his efforts to examine incidents and governmental actions that are incompatible with the provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and to recommend remedial measures as appropriate;
  • to continue to apply a gender perspective, among other things, through the identification of gender-specific abuses, in the reporting process, including in information collection and in recommendations.

On 31 March 2022, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 49/5, which included an extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years.

Working methods

In the discharge of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur:

  • transmits communications to States with regard to cases that represent infringements of or impediments to the exercise of the right to freedom of religion and belief;
  • undertakes fact-finding country visits , prepares and presents the report of the visits;
  • submit and presents annual reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly, on the activities, trends of issues and methods of work.