At a time of rising violations of freedom of religion or belief around the globe, IPPFoRB seeks to advance this fundamental freedom for everyone everywhere.
The Advocacy Initiatives of IPPFoRB
- June, 2014 – A small group of parliamentarians from several countries gathered in Oxford, United Kingdom to discuss ways to confront religious freedom abuses. An agreement was reached to begin to build a wider international coalition in defence of religious freedom.
- 8 November 2014– This plan became reality as the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief is launched in Oslo, Norway at the Nobel Peace Center. It is here that 30 parliamentarians signed the Oslo Charter – the founding document of IPPFoRB, an expression of common goals, and a declaration of commitment to freedom of religion or belief for everyone, everywhere. To learn more about the Oslo Charter, click here. The parliamentarians also signed two advocacy letters (Myanmar, Pakistan) in response to the growing threat of religious persecution in particular countries of concern.
- 8-9 April, 2015 – The IPPFoRB Steering Committee and members of the IPPFoRB Secretariat met in Washington, DC to discuss follow up from the Oslo meeting, to grow the network, and to plan the First International Parliamentarians Conference in New York City.
- 15-17 September, 2015 –Facing the rise of religious persecution worldwide, IPPFoRB – in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Church of England, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom – hosted an unprecedented gathering of nearly 100 parliamentarians from 45 countries in Ney York City. The First International Parliamentarians Conference – Multinational Efforts to Promote Freedom of Religion or Belief – placed a particular focus on concrete actions to incite change. Highlights of the conference included:
- The signing of the New York Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief, committing signatories to renewed action to promote religious freedom. For more information on the Resolution, click here;
- The signing of three advocacy letters by conference participants (Myanmar, Iran, Vietnam) in response to the growing threat of religious persecution in particular countries of concern;
- The drafting of Civil Society Recommendations. These set in motion an ambitious plan of consultation and collaboration with civil society on issues of FoRB. View the full list of recommendations here;
- Panel discussions among parliamentarians and diplomats on the specific threat posed by ISIS repression and authoritarian governments;
- Hearing directly from religious leaders involved in the pursuit of FoRB, including a cleric from Iran, a bishop from Nigeria, and a Buddhist leader from Japan;
- Parliamentarians heard from Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini. Pastor Abedini had been jailed in September 2012 by the Iranian regime for peacefully exercising his faith in private homes. 67 parliamentarians signed a letter calling for his release.
- 9-10 February, 2016 – The IPPFoRB Steering Committee and members of the IPPFoRB Secretariat met in London, United Kingdom to lay out a bold three-year strategic plan for the work of IPPFoRB network participants. The plan commits to grow IPPFoRB as a self-supporting international network of parliamentarians, empowered to be agents of change at home and abroad. Learn more about the Strategic Plan by clicking here.
- 16-20 August, 2016 – IPPFoRB embarked on its first fact-finding and solidarity visit to Myanmar. IPPFoRB delegation members met with government officials, religious groups and civil society to address threats to FoRB as well as lasting solutions. Constitutional reform and changes to ‘race and religion protection laws,’ which restrict FoRB, were a focus of the delegation.
- 12-14 September, 2016 – Parliamentarians gathered in Berlin, Germany for the Second International Parliamentarians Conference. An Embattled Right: Protecting and Promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief is the latest effort to highlight the importance of this fundamental right globally. The conference focused on a myriad of approaches for parliamentarians to defend and entrench FoRB in their home countries and abroad. Learn more about Berlin 2016
IPPFoRB’s Advocacy Letters: November 2014 – present
The IPP has written several letters to heads of state about religious freedom issues.
- Letter to the Chief Minister of the Province of Punjab of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – September 2016 (PDF)
IPPFoRB’s National and Regional Groups
- 17 March, 2015 – IPPFoRB Brazil is formed at the National Congress of Brazil. Current members are MPs Leonardo Quintão, Romulo Gouveia, Roberto de Lucena and José Medeiros.
- 21 May, 2015 – The Pakistani Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion and Interfaith Harmony is launched. Chaired by IPPFoRB founding member Asiya Nasir, the all-party group committed itself to work toward interfaith harmony in the region.
- 27 May 2015 – The Norwegian Parliamentary Group for Freedom of Religion is launched. Founded by IPPFoRB Steering Committee member Abid Raja, MP and supported by all parties, the group works to put a spotlight on FoRB in Norway and abroad.
- 2015 – IPPFoRB Latin America is established. Thirteen parliamentarians have already gathered to discuss, share and act upon regional concerns. As part of its 3-year plan, IPPFoRB has set an ambitious goal to create new regional groups devoted to FoRB.
- January 2016 – The Danish Inter-parliamentarian network on Freedom of Religion or Belief is established. Seven members of the Danish parliament established a network with the primary objective of strengthening freedom of religion or belief in Danish foreign and development policies. The network will bring together parliamentarians across the political spectrum with scientists and researchers and civil society organizations in a common informed dialogue on how freedom of religion or belief can be strengthen and how similar efforts are tackled in other national and international forums. For more information, read the Danish Mission Council’s press release.