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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. 

Former Timor-Leste President and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta
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