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...
‘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.
Myanmar: Campaigning in the aftermath of the coup
In response to the military coup in Myanmar, our advocacy team quickly implemented advocacy, campaigning and media strategies calling for targeted sanctions and a global arms embargo.
On 3 June, a Christian couple sentenced to death for blasphemy, Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel were acquitted of all charges by the Lahore High Court after being in prison for almost eight years. A lawyer representing the couple said international pressure played a ‘vital role’ in their sentence being overturned.
Cuba: From pandemic to protests, the struggle for freedom
CSW mobilised urgent advocacy interventions to advocate on behalf of those targeted and detained in a crackdown on the 11 July protests in Cuba. Over 4,000 supporters campaigned tirelessly in 2021, demanding the release of Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, who was violently arrested in the protests.
Iran: Breakthrough with UN ruling over Pastor Nadarkhani
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is asking the Iranian Government for the urgent release of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhanithe pastor, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for ‘acting against national security’ by promoting Zionist Christianity, and who it describes as ‘a target of religious discrimination’.
Nigeria: 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.
At the United Nations: Calling the world to action
In 2021, in response to military coups and human rights crises, we conducted advocacy and delivered oral statements during three Special Sessions of the UNHRC (on Myanmar, Sudan and Ethiopia), as well as undertaking our strategic planned advocacy.
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#2 CSW manifesto
We believe no one should suffer discrimination, harassment or persecution because of their beliefs