The in-person workshop, which took place over three days at the beginning of the month, brought together Parliamentarians, as well as civil society actors, from South Asia in order to explore critical issues surrounding the human right to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and its situation within the broader human rights framework.
The aim was to provide legislators and decision makers with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the human right to FoRB in the regional context, including on how it can be instrumentalized and misused when not understood in an inclusive, intersectional, and universal way. The workshop also sought to foster a diverse exchange of ideas and perspectives, and to facilitate cross-national and international co-operation. The Parliamentarians selected for the workshop came from a range of backgrounds and political affiliations.
Issues covered by the workshop included: the right to FoRB; how the right to FoRB intersects with the rights of women; the relationship between FoRB, freedom of expression and blasphemy laws; and FoRB in the context of hate speech, incitement, and discrimination.
The session trainers included: Ahmed Shaheed, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; Fernanda San Martin Carrasco, Director of IPPFoRB and a former member of Parliament in Bolivia; and Humanists International’s Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey.
The workshop took place in Bangkok, Thailand.