At the conclusion of the 2015 Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Southeast Asia (SEAFORB Conf) held in Bangkok, Thailand on Sep 30 – Oct 1, 2015, participants issued a conference declaration that acknowledges that violations of freedom of r eligion or belief continue to occur in Southeast Asia, perpetrated by both States and non-state actors. The declaration, however, recognizes that “the prospect of greater economic, social and cultural integration among the States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) provides an important opportunity for acknowledging existing and emerging diversity of religions or beliefs in the region.”
Participants of the 2016 Conference jointly develop strategies and plans of action at both country and regional levels to implement this commitment over the following 12 months. In promoting regional solidarity and advocacy, diverse strategies ranging from the use of social media campaigns to joint statements will be explored. Additionally, the creation of a regional coordinating mechanism will be one of the key points . to be addressed. Conference participants will . explore best practices, including interfaith action and setting up religious freedom roundtables, so that communities can learn from one another.
“I’m asking the members of religious organizations to take back the declaration made in 2015 and share it with the community members, then bring it back with more signatories because it is a commitment to the human rights system" - Sam Zarifi of ICJ
Click here to read the full conference report.