Violence committed “in the name of religion” – SR on freedom of religion or belief


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UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

Thematic Report

Violence committed “in the name of religion”, that is, on the basis of or arrogated to religious tenets of the perpetrator, can lead to massive violations of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur first provides a typological description of various forms of violence carried out in the name of religion. He subsequently explores root causes and relevant factors that underlie such violence. The main message is that violence in the name of religion should not be misperceived as a “natural” outbreak of collective acts of aggression that supposedly reflect sectarian hostilities existing since time immemorial. Rather, it typically originates from contemporary factors and actors, including political circumstances.


The Special Rapporteur also recommends concerted actions by all relevant stakeholders, including States, religious communities, interreligious dialogue initiatives, civil society organizations and media representatives, in order to contain and eventually eliminate the scourge of violence committed in the name of religion.


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