Factsheet: The Impact of Financial Regulations on Religious Organizations and Religious Freedom

Factsheet on Controlling Civil Society’s Purse Strings – Around the globe, some governments misuse financial restrictions to hamper civil society actors, which can negatively impact religious communities. This factsheet explores the religious freedom implications from the use of excessive financial restrictions to harass and limit the activities of civil society organizations. The ability to solicit and receive financial contributions is an integral component of freedom of religion or belief, and these restrictions can be in violation of international human rights law. Financial harassment can take many forms, from attempts to delegitimize the work of foreign-funded civil society by enacting requirements to register as “foreign agents,” to excessive and intrusive reporting requirements, to exorbitant fees and fines for religious activity, to the seizure of assets or religious property. The factsheet also examines examples of government financial harassment of civil society organizations and its impact on religious freedom and communities in Belarus, China, India, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

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