May 21, 2022

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Multi-Country Statement on the 9th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

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Office of International Religious Freedom

On behalf of 23 members and friends of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, we are proud to address the UN Human Rights Council. 

The Alliance is a network of like-minded countries fully committed to advancing freedom of religion or belief around the world. Launched in February 2020, this group of 35 countries gathers a diversity of representatives from governments, civil society, members of faith groups, and other members of the public to complement existing work to promote freedom of religion or belief within the multilateral system. 

Members of the Alliance considers that the international community must do more to protect members of religious minority groups and to combat discrimination and persecution based on religion or belief. In support of Article 18 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, we advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all, including the right of individuals to hold any belief, to change it or to hold none. 

In February 2022, participants in the Alliance celebrated its second anniversary. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, throughout the last two years, the group expanded its membership and areas of action. 

In 2021, participants of the Alliance issued statements on matters of concern, such as attacks on places of worship in Myanmar, the impact on religious minorities of the crisis in Afghanistan, the fate of missing Yezidi women and children, and persecution against Jehovah’s Witnesses. In March this year, members released a statement in support of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as well as on the situation in Ukraine. 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, celebrated this year. We believe this milestone should inspire us to build momentum for a renewed engagement of all countries in protecting members of religious minorities groups worldwide. 

We invite members of the Human Rights Council to join us and act together in solidarity towards a world where no one feels threatened for having a religion or belief, or for having none. A world where all individuals can realize the full potential of their human dignity, irrespectively of whom or where they are or what they believe. 

Co-signatories: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Republic of Korea, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and the United States. 

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