In January and February 2020, the ICJ supported community dialogue events on international and national law and standards relating to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief.
The events were organized by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) for around 50 youths and human rights defenders from Chin State and Bago Region in Myanmar.
The program sought to improve the capacity of local youths and human rights defenders from Chin State and Bago Region to understand how freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is protected by the international and national legal frameworks and apply this understanding to their activities.
The ICJ’s national legal researcher, Ja Seng Ing, introduced the concept of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) u, and applicable international standards on FoRB for Myanmar including how FoRB interacts with other human rights such as freedom of expression. She presented an overview of the domestic legal framework on FoRB and highlighted the State’s obligation to implement such laws and policies to respect and protect the equality, non-discrimination and other rights of individuals and to particularly address violations of their rights to FoRB.
The participants raised the need to improve the quality of public discussion on FoRB and related human rights, and shared this experiences in advocating for the protection of FoRB – including the limitation and challenges that they have faced.
The activities are part of the ICJ’s ongoing effort to convene civil society actors and lawyers in Myanmar with a view to advancing FoRB in the country, and builds on the ICJ’s previous work on this theme.
Ja Seng Ing, ICJ Legal Researcher, e: jaseng.ing(a)icj.org