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Restricting Diversity: Mapping Legislation on Freedom of  Religion or Belief in Southeast Asia

November 17th, 2022  •  Author:   ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights  •  2 minute read
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Executive Summary

This report provides a mapping of the laws and regulations regarding the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in the countries of Southeast Asia. It hopes to provide lawmakers with the information needed to address and respond to the key legal issues regarding religion or belief in each country.

However, not every problem can be solved by changes in law, and shifts in culture and practice need also to take place to create the necessary lasting changes to realize the right of all to FoRB. The report begins with a discussion of the strategic importance of FoRB in Southeast Asia, a region characterized by its size, diversity, and complexity, and the role of legislators in protecting this fundamental right. It continues by analyzing the international legal framework governing FoRB.

Country chapters are presented in alphabetical order. Each country chapter follows the same structure: a review of the country’s religious demography and general religious background; a presentation of its constitutional framework relating to FoRB; an analysis of the problematic laws governing FoRB; and recommendations for Parliamentarians on how to address these deficiencies and bring the country’s laws in line with the right to FoRB.

To conclude, the report offers a discussion on ways forward for parliamentarians in the region to help achieve prosperous and tolerant societies in which the right to FoRB is respected and protected for all.

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