CSW continues to highlight threats to this right, including the situation of religious minorities in many countries around the world. In Egypt, a president elected as an alternative to a member of the former regime by a slim margin and with the assistance of liberal and secular voters is attempting to force through a draft constitution that limits the rights of religious minorities and women. In northern and central Nigeria, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram and its offshoots are mounting a deadly campaign aimed at eradicating Christianity utilising tactics that could amount to war crimes, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In Burma, Rohingyas in Rakhine State have been subjected to a systematic campaign of persecution and ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution against the Chin people continues. In Pakistan, the frequency of extremist violence against religious minorities has reached alarming levels, with Shi’as, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus alike being targeted in premeditated and spontaneous acts of aggression, and the state is not doing enough to address the root causes.
CSW also believes that the most recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to the General Assembly (A/67/303), which calls upon states “to consistently respect, protect and promote the human right to freedom of religion or belief in the area of conversion”, creates an opportunity for a global conversation around this neglected area of the right to freedom of religion or belief.
CSW’s Advocacy Director, Andrew Johnston said, “We welcome the increased prominence that the right to freedom of religion or belief is rightfully receiving, and we urge the international community to go much further to ensure that this right is protected for all people around the world.”