Limited Progress: Religious Freedom and Covenantal Pluralism in Uzbekistan

Dmytro Vovk is Director of the Centre for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and co-editor of Talk About: Law and Religion

Elizabeth A. Clark is Associate Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Regional Advisor for Europe at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

In December 2020, the U.S. State Department announced that Uzbekistan would be removed from its Special Watch List for religious freedom violations. Some observers welcomed this decision celebrating the country’s significant progress in protecting religious freedom, while others were more pessimistic, claiming that many burdensome restrictions are still in force and there is much work to be done by the government in order to meet international standards. As legal scholars who have closely studied Uzbekistan’s laws and political culture vis-à-vis religion, we take a mixed view: real progress has been made, but continuation and consolidation of progress will require significant “top-down” and “bottom-up” engagement and reform.

(more…)

Continue Reading Limited Progress: Religious Freedom and Covenantal Pluralism in Uzbekistan

Law, Religion, and Freedom: Conceptualizing a Common Right: A New Book Considers Issues Critical to Our Times

Donlu Thayer is a Senior Fellow at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Before her retirement at the end of 2019, she was the Center’s Publications Director. This blogpost is modified from Thayer’s Introduction to Law, Religion, and Freedom: Conceptualizing a Common Right, which she edited with Cole Durham and Javier Martínez-Torrón, recently released by Routledge as part of its ICLARS Series on Law and Religion.

In September 2016, some 150 international experts in law and religion from 37 countries met at St. Hugh’s College in Oxford for the fourth conference of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS). The event was co-sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) of BYU Law School, by the Religion, Law and International Relations Programme of the Centre for Christianity and Culture of Regent’s Park College, Oxford, and by the University of Milan.

The conference was organized with attention to the theme ‘Freedom of/for/from/within Religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right?’  Two books were developed from papers delivered at the conference and from subsequent conversations related to the theme: Religious Freedom and the Law: Emerging Contexts for Freedom for and from Religion, edited by Brett Scharffs, Asher Maoz, and Ashley Woolley, and the book introduced here, which provides conceptual frameworks for and queries aspects of the theme.

(more…)

Continue Reading Law, Religion, and Freedom: Conceptualizing a Common Right: A New Book Considers Issues Critical to Our Times

New Restrictions in the Russian Religious Law: What Should Believers Expect?

Olga Sibireva is the head of the Religion in Secular Society project at the Moscow-based SOVA Center for Information and Analysis

In Russia, religious discrimination is often directed at new religious movements and Protestant organizations, and this trend has only intensified over the years. Increasingly strict state policies towards religious minorities are manifested, primarily, at the legislative level.

The Russian Law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations provides basic regulations for religious life. It was adopted in 1997 and has been amended almost every year since then; many of these amendments have worsened the plight of freedom of religion and belief in Russia.

(more…)

Continue Reading New Restrictions in the Russian Religious Law: What Should Believers Expect?