Article 1(A) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 189 U.N.T.S. 150, defines “refugee” to include someone who has “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of . . . religion” and who after satisfying other stated requirements is entitled to certain protections.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217 (III), U.N. Doc. A/810 at 71 (1948), has the following provisions:
- “ Everyone is entitled to all of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as . . . religion. . . .” (Art. 2)
- “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to . . . religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” (Art. 16(1).)
- “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.: (Art. 18.)
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI)(1966), provides the following:
- “(1) Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect to ensure to all Individuals in its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as . . . religion . . . “ (Art. 2(1))
- “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” (Art. 18(1))
- “No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice.” (Art. 18(2))
- “freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.” (Art. 18(3))
- “The State Parties to present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.” (Art. 14(4))
These comments are in response to a reader of this blog who wanted guidance on international religious freedom and set forth just a few of the international treaties on that subject. There are many books where others can be found.