On 23 October, more than 30 Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords attended the parliamentary launch of CSW’s toolkit on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).
The newly-published toolkit on FoRB recognises the important role of MPs and Peers in advocating for FoRB in the global context where more than three-quarters of the world’s population live in countries where there are severe restrictions on religious freedom.
The toolkit provides an overview of different aspects of FoRB and details the current situation in the countries CSW works in around the world. It also includes concrete information on both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary mechanisms for Parliamentarians to use in their efforts to promote the right to FoRB.
For over 30 years CSW has worked to raise awareness of violations of FoRB around the world and to advocate for this right in various national and international platforms including the UK Parliament, US Congress, European Union and United Nations. In the UK, CSW’s work based on strong cross-party relationships continues to help many MPs and Peers to speak up and promote this universal human right.
The launch of the toolkit was hosted by Rt Hon. Dame Caroline Spelman MP, who said: “I was pleased to host CSW’s event, where I and fellow parliamentarians were able to collect a copy of their toolkit on freedom of religion or belief, and receive up to date briefings on the situation of FoRB around the world from CSW’s expert advocates. I am committed to standing up for this fundamental human right, and urge the UK Government to do all it can to promote and protect the enjoyment of FoRB for every religious community around the world without discrimination, and to prevent or sanction violations of FoRB if they occur.”
Mervyn Thomas, CSW’s Chief Executive said: “The right to FoRB is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. FoRB matters, not only because it is a fundamental human right, but because promoting respect for all helps to build inclusive societies that are more stable, more prosperous, and better able to resist extremism. However, at CSW we remain deeply concerned by the human rights violations committed against religious communities around the world.”
Mr Thomas continued: “I would like to thank Dame Caroline Spelman MP for hosting the launch and for her continued support for the work of CSW. I was very encouraged by the number pf parliamentarians attending the launch of CSW’s toolkit on FoRB. I and my colleagues at CSW look forward to working with MPs and Peers of all parties to defend and promote FoRB for all, and hope that this toolkit will be a resource to them as they stand up for this fundamental human right.”