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Religious Freedom & State Recognition of Belief

Project: Research


How states recognise religions and beliefs and legally register religious or belief organisations is a growing concern to those monitoring religious freedom conditions. From data gathered by international human rights organisations, this study found the most pressing issues to include states limiting access to registration, making registration mandatory or onerous, using registration to surveil citizens, failing to recognise the rights of minority or new religious or belief communities and states delegitimising unapproved groups by labelling them ‘cults’ or ‘extremist.’ In response, this study created a Framework of Religious Recognition comprising several recommended methods for combatting these issues. Prime among the methods was a new series of international standards to supersede present guidelines by identifying with greater precision permissible state behaviour when handling recognition and registration. In pursuit of this aim, this study deconstructed the registration process to better understand it and split the key issues into three chronological stages: preregistration, registration procedures and postregistration. An interview series was conducted and the participants were split into two categories: subject-matter experts and members of religious minorities impacted by recognition or registration issues. Though not unanimous, the participants supported the hypothesis that current guidelines were insufficient and that despite being widely misused, recognition and registration have the potential to facilitate religious activity if states receive clearer standards to follow in how to remain FoRB-compliant.
Effective start/end date1/01/21 → …


Research outputs