Myanmar: Human Rights and Access to Places of Worship in Myanmar

Today, the ICJ published a paper entitled: “Human Rights and Access to places of worship in Myanmar”, which examines the right of access to places of worship in Myanmar.

Presented in a “question and answer” format, the paper identifies the political, legal and administrative obstacles that prevent full enjoyment of this right.

In addition, the publication outlines the general framework under international human rights law and standards governing the right to manifest one’s freedom of religion or belief, including the right to access places of worship. The paper also highlights the discriminatory application towards ethnic and religious minorities of Myanmar’s legal and regulatory framework, including during the early stages of the COVID pandemic, with respect to the right to freedom of religion or belief, in particular, in terms of their access to places of worship.

The publication also identifies the lack of a legal framework to regulate the construction and/or renovation of places of worships in the country and, in turn, the fact that this regulatory lacuna creates substantial obstacles to the exercise of rights guaranteed under Myanmar’s international human rights law obligations.


This paper was drafted and finalized in January 2021 before the military coup in Myanmar. This publication is part of a series of ICJ publications on the right to freedom of religion or belief produced with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.


To download the briefing paper in English, click here.

See also

New primer on freedom of religion or belief in international human rights law

Challenges to freedom of religion or belief in Myanmar