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Interreligious engagement strategies: a policy tool to advance freedom of religion or belief

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posted on 2023-06-09, 16:22 authored by Fabio PetitoFabio Petito, Stephanie BerryStephanie Berry, Maria Mancinelli
Persecution and discrimination on the basis of religion and belief are on the rise in many parts of the world. The fundamental human right of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is in crisis. In response to growing persecution and discrimination in recent years, the international community has committed to a broad range of efforts to prevent and combat intolerance based on religion or belief: strengthening policy tools, global advocacy efforts and international coordination to protect FoRB. There is, however, a growing feeling that the current policy approach is failing and that new bottom up strategies, i.e., engaging with local stakeholders and developing activities in response to local concerns, is the way forward. Building on this insight, a multi-stakeholder consultation process, led by the University of Sussex (FoRB&FPI) and run under the patronage of the 2018 Italian OSCE Chairmanship in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Policy Planning Unit) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), was established to encourage governments and international organizations to consider interreligious engagement – engagement with religious actors and interreligious dialogue and collaboration – as a vital policy tool to advance FoRB for all, providing recommendations and strategies of how to do so. The consultation involved 94 policy-makers, experts, religious and civil society representatives from the OSCE region and beyond (see list on page 28), who engaged in three official meetings in Bologna in the context of the European Academy of Religion (March 2018), in London (July 2018) in the UK Parliament at Westminster Palace and at Lambeth Palace and in Warsaw (September 2018) at the OSCE/ODHIR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. The FoRB&FPI team participated in a number of additional informal meetings, follow-up presentations, discussions and interviews.


Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and Intereligious Engagement: A consultation process under the 2018 Italian OSCE Chairmanship; G1426-91; ESRC


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  • International Development Publications

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  • Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research Publications
  • Centre for Global Political Economy Publications
  • Sussex European Institute Publications
  • Centre for Social and Political Thought Publications


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