International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief

The International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief was established by Canada in June 2015 to encourage and deepen coordination between countries committed to advancing religious freedom for all.  The contact group is co-chaired by Canada and the United States.

Promoting freedom of religion or belief

Participants promote freedom of religion or belief by:

Participation in any joint action is voluntary, and actions are not taken in the name of the International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief as a whole. As such, it is not a consensus-based or membership body.  Representatives of civil society and relevant subject-matter experts are regularly invited to present findings and recommendations to the group on issues related to freedom of religion or belief.

Activities

The International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief differentiates itself from other international fora by providing an informal forum for states to:

Participant countries continuously propose areas of focus and action, such as:

Meetings:

The International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief meets twice yearly in New York and Geneva on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council, respectively. The group also holds meetings on an ad hoc basis. Though all meetings are co-chaired by Canada and the United States, meetings are regularly hosted by other participating countries.

Participation

The International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief brings together a diverse group of nearly 30 countries and international organizations committed to protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief, as defined by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsFootnote 1 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The primary participants in the Contact Group are capitals-based representatives from foreign ministries or other ministries with responsibility for freedom of religion or belief. 

Participation in the Contact Group is predicated on a country's commitment to protect and promote freedom of religion or belief as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Contact Group aims to have countries reflecting a cross-section of geographical regions of the world. 

Related links:

Date Modified: