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Freedom of religion is the right to choose what religion to follow and to worship without undue interference. This fundamental right is guaranteed by 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. Freedom of religion or belief has many dimensions and intersects with other human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression or the right to life.

Our work

UN Human Rights works to ensure the respect of freedom of religion or belief, the prohibition of incitement to religious hatred, and the celebration of diversity in society. The core of our contribution centers around two initiatives. The first is the Rabat Plan of Action, which considers the distinction between freedom of expression and incitement to hatred, including religious hatred. The second, the “Faith for Rights” framework, builds on the Rabat Plan and articulates ways in which "Faith" can stand up for "Rights" more effectively so that both enhance each other. In parallel, UN Human Rights prepares reports on efforts and measures taken to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief (Human Rights Council resolution 16/18). Furthermore, the Office supports the work of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

More about the Rabat Plan of Action

More about the “Faith for Rights” Framework

More about combating intolerance against persons based on religion or belief

Who else is involved

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. The mandate is tasked with identifying existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and presenting recommendations on how to overcome such obstacles.

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