As a follow-up to the second conference held in Dili, East Timor, in August 2016, where the participants again affirmed their commitment to promote and advance freedom of religion or belief through a continuous inter-faith and multi-faith dialogue. In that event, the participants also identified two keys factors in advancing freedom of religion or belief, which are solidarity and collaboration.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), FORUM- ASIA, Boat People SOS (BPSOS), BYU Law (International Center for Law and Religion Studies), and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) aimed to . build on the commitments made at these two conferences by organizing the 2017 Regional Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Southeast Asia, parallel to the 2017 ASEAN Summit, which was be held in Manila, Philippines.
The focus of the 2017 Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Southeast Asia was to provide a platform for civil society groups, representatives from religious groups, and key policymakers in Southeast Asia to have greater understanding of the . importance of the right to freedom of religion or belief, in the framework of the States’ obligations under . international human rights law. During this conference, participants were acquainted with advocacy tools that they may use to further work towards the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief in their own countries.
The 2017 Regional Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief focused on the following strategic objectives:
To provide a platform for civil society groups, representatives fromreligious groups, and key policymakers in Southeast Asia, to have greater understanding of the importance of the right to freedom of religion or belief, in the framework of States’ obligations under international human rights law; and deepen the understanding of participants on new themes such as FoRB and its link to peace and security, socio-economic progress, intersectionality of ethnicity, gender and age in realization of FoRB
To provide participants with tools that they may use to advocate for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief in their own countries and practical skills on digital security, campaigning and engagement with media
To provide the first opportunity for many of the participants to engage with some of the key international FORB protection mechanisms such as the UN Special Rapporteur on FORB, EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of FoRB outside the EU, USCIRF and IPPFORB.
At the conclusion of 2017 Conference, participants have joined together to form the Freedom of Religion or Belief Network.