Challenges for Protection and Remedies for FoRB in the Post-pandemic era

Background:
Since its beginning in 2015, the SEAFORB Conference has been an annual forum for dialogue
and experience exchange between faith groups, INGO’s and national NGO’s, academia,
think-tanks, politicians, national government representatives, and regional and international
officials on the issue of FoRB in South East Asia. Due to the travel restriction during the
global pandemic, the 6 and 7 th Conference were held virtually through series of webinars.
The SEAFORB Conference arose out of a need to address the many FoRB challenges
impacting a religiously and ethnically diverse region spreading from the Buddhist-dominated
mainland of Southeast-Asia to archipelagic Muslim-majority countries and the Catholic
Philippines and Timor Leste. FORB violations in the 10 ASEAN member states plus Timor
Leste differ substantially between locations and groups and is also related to the level of
democratic development and general respect of human rights. Nevertheless, the SEAFORB
Conference has over the years dealt with recurring issues, including majoritarianism, anti-
religion regimes, legal restrictions that impact FoRB and religious minority communities,
discrimination of religious minorities and a culture of impunity.
The permanent modality that has been developed at SEAFORB include: Presentation and
dialogue from various international and regional human rights mechanisms, sharing and
discussion of country-specific situations on FoRB, and to some extent a specific capacity
building program for grass-root/community-based organizations and other interested
participants. As such, the SEAFoRB Conference has succeeded in connecting victims of FORB
violations with regional and international duty bearer and served as an important platform
for support, empowerment and new partnerships.
One priority issue that came out strongly from prior conferences is the need to have a solid
and permanent Network that can provide support, either in terms of protection, remedies
and capacity building activities in between the annual conference. The eight annual
conference will be dedicated to the discussion of how a regional SEAFORB Network can be
developed and sustained long-term for greater impact of FORB promotion across Southeast-
Asia.


The current and new challenges in the protection of FoRB:
The current and new emerging issues and challenges on the protection of FoRB varies from ;
protection of FoRB during and after the pandemic, the role of religions in the economic
development process with special attention to the role of business and FoRB, FoRB and
Sustainable Development Goals, digital Transformation and FoRB, Incitement of Hatred
based on Religions, identity politics based on religion, protection of religious minority
groups and Indigenous Religions/beliefs, gender inclusion and FoRB. Among this list of new

challenges, the 8 th SEAFORB Conference which will be taking place on the eve of Presidential
Level G-20 Summit, will focus on the issue of digital transformation and its impact to FoRB
that hopefully will contribute to the coming commitment of G-20 countries on the
collaboration of Digital Transformation and global economic recovery.
Special Session/panel on the State of ForB in Indonesia:
Since the 8 th SEAFORB Conference is taking place in Bali-Indonesia, a special session will be
dedicated to the current and new challenges in the promotion and protection of FoRB in the
context of Indonesian Democracy. Lessons learned and good practices will be shared by
actors from government, academia, NGO’s and Faith-based organization from religious
minority groups in Indonesia. It is planned that the discussion will start with a key note
speech that will addressed by Current Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.


Break-Out Sessions:
The breakout sessions on various topic on FoRB are proposed and will be convened by
individual participating organization and/or a group of organisations. Topics, speakers and
organizer will be published and continuously updated on the SEAFORB website. Breakout
sessions will highlight various issues on FoRB and there will also be informal/semi-formal
session of direct dialog with International/regional Human Rights mechanism present at the
conference with country based victims of FoRB violations.
The Goals of the 8 th SEAFORB Conference:
1. To provide platform of dialogue, sharing lessons learned and good practices, as well
as exchanges of ideas among International and Regional Human Rights Mechanisms,
Government officials, academia, faith based organisations, human rights NGO
working on FoRB on the current and emerging issues related to promotion and
protection of FoRB in South East Asia
2. To strengthen the SEAFORB Network emphasizing the bottom-up approach on
institutionalization process toward a more permanent Network for collaboration on
advocacy and capacity building
3. To contribute to the G-20 commitment on digital transformation for global social-
economic recovery from the perspective of promotion and protection of FoRB.
Participants:
Faith based non-governmental organisation, religious community/groups, national and
international Human Rights NGO working on the FoRB in South East Asia. International and
Regional Human Rights mechanism, Academe, Universities and Think Tanks, government
officials.


Date and Venue:
7-9 November 2022, Bali - Indonesia
Organizers:
Over the years, the SEAFORB conference has been funded and guided by a voluntary group
of organisations from Europe, USA and South East Asia who make up the SEAFORB Steering
Committee. Currently the Steering Committee consists of the Asia Centre, Boat People SOS,
Brigham Young University-Law- International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Christian

Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), and Stefanus Alliance
International (SAI). In addition, the 8th SEAFORB conference this year will be co-hosted