In for the Long Haul—Advocating for Freedom of Religion or Belief

Dr. Mine Yildirim is Head of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey

In this personal reflection piece, I will share my experience on advocating for freedom of religion or belief, particularly based on human rights law and the engagement with different actors. The context for these reflections is my work with the Freedom of Belief Initiative (FoBI) and my engagement in the promotion of freedom of religion or belief in different regions as an expert and advisor.

The FoBI is a human rights project that aims to contribute to the protection of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey. The project’s activities center on systematic monitoring and reporting on the state of freedom of religion or belief with concrete policy recommendations. Advocacy is another core activity. International human rights compliance control mechanisms are important in this sense. We provide submissions in the context of the Universal Periodic Review, UN treaty bodies, and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. Another focus is the creation of platforms for constructive discussion on complex freedom of religion or belief issues by way of conferences, roundtables, or workshops.

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