Is Religious Autonomy a Threat to Gender Equality?

Montserrat Gas-Aixendri
is Full Professor of Law and Religion at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) 


In a 2013 Report, the UN Special Rapporteur acknowledged that freedom of religion or belief and gender equality sometimes seem to be in an artificial antagonism. In fact, synergies between the freedom of religion or belief and promoting gender equality remain systematically underexplored, discouraged, or delegitimized (para. 32-33, 42). Though the 2020 Report on religious freedom and gender equality rightly condemns violence and discrimination against women, girls, and LGBT+ persons based on the pretence of religious freedom, I must confess that I expected this report to have the courage to take on the challenge of finding synergies between the freedom of religion or belief and promoting gender equality. However, in many ways my expectations are left unmet. In the following paragraphs, I will try to comment on how the report addresses the issue of autonomy of religious institutions in the context of gender equality and why some of its points should be criticized. Continue reading “Is Religious Autonomy a Threat to Gender Equality?”

COVID-19 and Human Dignity


This Conversation was developed from contributions to an international Webinar held 16 April 2020: Freedom of Religion or Belief, COVID-19 and Human DignityEpisode 2 of the Webinar Series COVID-19 and Freedom of Religion or Belief. Panelists in this Webinar addressed the following and other questions: How is this global emergency affecting our concept of human dignity? How can we ensure that restrictions to civil liberties that we accept for our collective safety respect human dignity and human rights? Continue reading “COVID-19 and Human Dignity”

COVID-19 Requires an Urgent Response Grounded in Human Rights and Human Dignity

Ewelina U. Ochab
is a legal researcher, human rights advocate and author, regularly contibuting to such outlets at
Forbes. She is co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response. This blogpost arises from her role as moderator of a international panel for a Webinar held 16 April 2020 [1]  and is part of a Talk About Conversation on COVID-19 and Human Dignity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been shaping and reshaping our lives as we knew them over the recent week and months. The majority of us, confined to our homes, had to adjust to the new social distancing rules, working from home for weeks, move all social interaction to the online world of Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting and many more. And while we struggle in our own ways, it is crucial to remember that there are groups of people who are more affected by COVID-19 and the changes to brought to the world. This is not to suggest a completion over victimhood status but to recognize the particular situation, particular vulnerabilities that cannot be neglected when the impact of COVID-19 is assessed. And indeed, COVID-19 has had a proficient effect on the enjoyment of human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, and human dignity. Continue reading “COVID-19 Requires an Urgent Response Grounded in Human Rights and Human Dignity”