How our advocacy and campaigns work together to create change 

We believe world leaders have a duty to protect freedom of religion or belief, and we believe our research and analysis enable policymakers to stand up for this right.

We use two main strategies to encourage world leaders to fulfil this responsibility: advocacy and campaigning. 

Our advocacy is undertaken by our specialist team of advocates – often internationally-respected experts in their fields – who conduct thorough research, gathering first hand evidence and compiling it into a report, which they use to persuade decision-makers to take action. 

We produce regular reports for each country we work on, but we also produce shorter briefings in response to particular cases. 

This means we can quickly update an MP, for example, on the facts of the case, and explain what they can do about it. We also produce bespoke analysis at the request of policy-makers. Our advocates also take every opportunity to meet with international policy-makers and present their research and recommendations. 

The second key component of our work is campaigning by supporters like you, which underpins our advocacy. When you email your MP about a case we’re working on, that alerts the MP that their constituents are concerned about the case. They are then more likely to accept a meeting with our advocates to discuss the situation and what can be done.

We seldom see immediate victories in our work – advocacy generally takes time and persistence. However, we have seen tangible evidence of the international community’s growing awareness of freedom of religion or belief, since CSW was founded 40 years ago. 

See just some of our impact...

Uyghur Muslims, ChinaChina: ‘Not buying it’ campaign breakthrough
On 6 January 2021, Marks & Spencer became the first top-tier global retailer to publicly sign the Brand Commitment to Exit the Uyghur Region, providing assurance to its customers that its products won’t be linked to the abuses of Uyghurs. 

Bishop Álvarez: Released into ExileNicaragua: Bishop Álvarez Released into Exile
We were consistently advocating for Bishop Álvarez' unconditional release, including by raising awareness in the media, briefing politicians and highlighting his case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Though released into exile, the Nicaraguan human rights defender was finally free. 

Rocky, Raja and Notal Lal

Pakistan: acquittal of three individuals charged with blasphemy.

Two Christians and one Hindu who were charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. We continue to call on the government to curb the misuse of the blasphemy laws with an aim to repeal these laws in the long term.

Pastor Lorenzo Arbitrary Detention

Cuba: UN Working Group rules that detention of Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo is arbitrary 
Over 4,000 supporters campaigned tirelessly in 2021, demanding the release of Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, who was violently arrested in the protests. Now, his detention has been ruled as arbitrary by the UN.

Pastor NadarkhaniIran: Pastor Nadarkhani released as part of national amnesty 
Pastor Nadarkhani was one of four Christians initially arrested in Rasht on 13 May 2016 during a series of raids by security agents on Christian homes. CSW’s sources have confirmed that the pastor is now free.

Du Merci orphanagesNigeria: Du Merci orphanages; campaigning against injustice 
Our advocacy team has lobbied key policymakers and UN Special Procedures to take action for interventions on behalf of Professor Tarfa and the Du Merci children since the Professor was arrested on Christmas day 2019. More than 3,000 of you have campaigned and prayed for behalf of Professor Tarfa and his family. 


CSW at the UN HRC 2024Our work at the UN 
In 2023 we attended all three sessions of the Human Rights Council and saw breakthroughs in Sudan and Cuba. Despite some setbacks elsewhere, we're encouraged by the opportunity our work at the UN provides to engage the international community. 

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#2 CSW manifesto

We believe no one should suffer discrimination, harassment or persecution because of their beliefs