Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:
Global Overview of Official and Favored Religions and Legal Implications for Religious Freedom – This report provides an overview of the ways governments enforce religion through their laws and policies and the implications of that enforcement for religious freedom and related human rights. Many governments that repress religious freedom do so through laws and policies that coerce compliance with a particular religious interpretation, typically one that aligns with an official or state-favored religion. Such laws—particularly when governments actively enforce them—can lead to severe violations of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and other human rights, including discrimination on the basis of religion against individuals and communities who do not adhere to the state’s interpretation. The report, based on research into all countries with official or favored religions, finds that most governments with an official or favored religion also maintain laws or policies on the basis of religion that lead to discrimination or repression, or that hold the potential to do so. Far fewer such countries—less than a third—name an official or favored religion and maintain no discriminatory laws or policies based on that religion.