Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:
Tolerance, Religious Freedom, and Authoritarianism – This report details how authoritarian states promote religious tolerance without necessarily ensuring freedom of religion or belief. It distinguishes between these two concepts and explains the origins of religious tolerance promotion as a tool of statecraft. The report then presents case studies of countries engaged in religious tolerance promotion, such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Russia, and Uzbekistan. It provides suggestions for the U.S. government to encourage the promotion of religious tolerance by other states, while also holding those governments accountable for providing religious freedom as outlined in international legal instruments like the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as required under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
An episode of USCIRF’s Spotlight Podcast also highlighted the potential pitfalls of promoting religious tolerance rather than freedom of religion or belief as defined in the international human rights standards, and how the U.S. government can support religious tolerance in a way that most effectively advances the national interest in promoting religious freedom.