The right to freely choose and change one’s religion is protected under international law, as is the right to manifest one’s beliefs through teaching those beliefs. While there is a right to propagate or proselytize, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) also protects individuals from coercion that would impair their freedom to choose their religion or belief.
This follow-on contracted study reviews 22 middle and high school textbooks published by the Saudi government for the 2017-2018 academic year, including the 12 high school books previously reviewed by USCIRF in its May 2018 Special Report.
This report presents findings from a review of 12 Saudi high school textbooks for the current 2017-2018 academic school year. The books, numbering more than 2,000 pages and focusing only on religious subjects, are much more intolerant than the six religious books from 2012-2014 that were reviewed by USCIRF. Based on the books reviewed, it appears that they are even more intolerant than the 2011-2012 textbooks studied by the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), which identified many intolerant passages. The 2017-2018 books are more akin to Saudi textbooks from the early years of the previous decade before the Saudi government promised to reform its curricula. The issues found in the books implicated religious freedom and other human rights.
2/12/18: Inventing Extremists: The Impact of Russian Anti-Extremism Policies on Freedom of Religion or Belief
This report examines Russian anti-extremist legislation, corresponding law enforcement practices, and their effects on freedom of religion or belief from 2011 to 2017. This research is focused on how the very regulations that ostensibly protect people and organizations in Russia from religious intolerance are instead used by authorities to sanction people and organizations for activity or speech based on their religious belief or lack thereof.
The report documents ASEAN’s and the Member States’ approaches to the freedom of religion or belief, underscores the religious freedom-related challenges in the region that transcend country borders, and emphasizes the strategic importance of robust U.S. engagement on these issues with ASEAN as a collective and the 10 individual Member States.
9/20/17: Selected Blasphemy Cases
SELECTED BLASPHEMY CASES Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws, a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, documents the 71 countries – ranging from Canada to Pakistan – that have blasphemy laws (as of June 2016). The individuals highlighted here are only a sample of those who have been negatively impacted by blasphemy laws. For some we have pictures, but for many we do not. Read their stories, the charges against them, and their sentences to better understand the devastating impact of these laws and the need for repeal.
Did you know 71 of the world's 195 countries have blasphemy laws? Penalties for violating blasphemy laws in these countries can range from fines to imprisonment and death. USCIRF’s groundbreaking report examines and compares the content of laws prohibiting blasphemy worldwide.
This abbreviated version of USCIRF’s 2017 Respecting Rights?--Measuring the World's Blasphemy Laws does not include Annex A ("Compendium of Laws") for the 71 countries analyzed in the original report, or Annex B (the "Codebook") for evaluating laws.
While a common misperception persists that women’s rights to equality and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) are clashing rights, the two are actually indivisible and interrelated, a new USCIRF report finds.
Click here to view the report: Wilting in the Kurdish Sun: The Hopes and Fears of Religious Minorities in Northern Iraq