New Publication: Freedom of Religion and Belief: An International Law Commentary by Heiner Bielefeldt, Nazila Ghanea, and Michael Wiener

admin - 11th December 2015

Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and Professor of Human Rights and Human Rights Politics at the University of Erlangen- Nürnberg, Nazila Ghanea, Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford and member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Michael Wiener, Human Rights Officer and Visiting Fellow of Kellogg College at the University of Oxford have published an exciting new look at freedom of religion and belief.

Violations of religious freedom and violence committed in the name of religion grab our attention on a daily basis. Freedom of religion or belief is a key human right: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, numerous conventions, declarations and soft law standards include specific provisions on freedom of religion or belief. The 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief has been interpreted since 1986 by the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Special Rapporteurs (for example those on racism, freedom of expression, minority issues and cultural rights) and Treaty Bodies (for example the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on the Rights of the Child) have also elaborated on freedom of religion or belief in the context of their respective mandates.

Freedom of Religion or Belief: An International Law Commentary is the first commentary to look comprehensively at the international provisions for the protection of freedom of religion or belief, considering how they are interpreted by various United Nations Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies. Structured around the thematic categories of the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s framework for communications, the commentary analyses, for example, the limitations on the wearing of religious symbols and vulnerable situations, including those of women, detainees, refugees, children, minorities and migrants, through a combination of scholarly expertise and practical experience.


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