Report on the relationship between freedom of religion or belief and national security

​5 September 2018
Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
To the 73rd Session of General Assembly on 22 October 2018


In the present report, the Special Rapporteur highlights the interrelationship between freedom of religion or belief and violent extremism. He stresses the duty of States to ensure that any restriction imposed on the right to freedom of religion or belief must strictly comply with the limitations regime stipulated by international human rights law. He argues that ensuring the rights of all persons reduces conflict involving religion or belief, thereby better facilitating human security.

While cautioning against securitizing religion or belief, the Special Rapporteur urges States to operationalize various tools developed by the United Nations system in the context of freedom of religion or belief and the prevention of mass atrocities, and which are grounded in the human rights framework, to build societal resilience against violent extremism. He encourages States to develop national action plans with the participation of national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and development partners to facilitate the implementation of specific roles contained in these tools for national and international actors, including the mass media, judicial authorities, oversight bodies, civil society, religious leaders and faith-based actors. He further calls on the relevant United Nations mechanisms to encourage the formulation of these plans and increase transparency on their implementation and, in particular, to support the convening of the seventh meeting of the Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance, Discrimination and Incitement to Hatred and/or Violence on the Basis of Religion or Belief.

Additional information

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Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
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Contact information

Mr. Ahmed Shaheed
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: (+41) 22 917 90 06

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