Combating Religious Intolerance
Protecting Freedom of Religion for All
Throughout the world, members of minority religious groups are often harassed, threatened, discriminated against, and attacked. Governments frequently promulgate laws and policies limiting which religions may be practiced where and when, criminalizing blasphemy, or outlawing so-called “defamation of religion” – even demanding a global blasphemy law – to discriminate against members of disfavored religious groups. In many countries individuals are placed under house arrest, detained, or “disappear” for exercising the basic human right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
JBI stands at the forefront of the fight to protect freedom of religion – for Jews as well as non-Jews. JBI has encouraged and supported the creation of key UN mechanisms to uphold freedom of religion or belief, including the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance and the creation in 1985 of the post of Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance (now renamed Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion). JBI has called on the Special Rapporteurs to visit problem countries, address individual cases meriting urgent action, monitor religious intolerance, and improve protection of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion for all.
JBI urges public officials to implement measures that ensure freedom of religion or belief. JBI activities on this issue include advocating for the release of prisoners of conscience – those imprisoned for practicing their religion – continuing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, urging the elimination of blasphemy laws, and monitoring antisemitic incidents and actions directed against other religious communities.
Additional information on JBI’s activities on this topic can be found at the links below:
- Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities
- Strengthening Human Rights Mechanisms
- Combating Religious Intolerance
- Safeguarding Refugees and Migrants