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Religious Freedom Principles

This Guide has been compiled with reference to a large number of sources; the most extensively used are listed below. We also thank many country experts (who wish to remain anonymous) for their assistance.

The persecution of Christians described in this Guide is a violation of internationally-recognised human rights principles and law.

AsiaLink Asia News Assyrian International News Agency Barnabas Fund BBC News/Country Profiles Christian Post Christian Solidarity Worldwide Forum 18 News Service International Christian Concern Irish Times Middle East Concern Mission Network News Morning Star News Open Doors World Watch List Operation World Release International Voice of the Martyrs Canada Wazala

The foundational human rights document – adopted by the United Nations in 1948 – is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration states: “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.” In 2013, the European Union adopted Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) to govern its relations with countries outside the EU. The Guidelines state: “The right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is a fundamental right of every human being. As a universal human right, freedom of religion or belief safeguards respect for diversity. Its free exercise directly contributes to democracy, development, rule of law, peace and stability. Violations of freedom of religion or belief may exacerbate intolerance and often constitute early indicators of potential violence and conflicts.”

Glossary & Sources


Church in Chains Global Guide  
Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...