United Nations

A/HRC/RES/49/5

General Assembly

Distr.: General

11 April 2022

Original: English

Human Rights Council

Forty-ninth session

28 February–1 April 2022

Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 31 March 2022

4 9 / 5. Freedom of religion or belief

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981, in which the Assembly proclaimed the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,

Recalling also article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights provisions,

Recalling further Human Rights Council resolution 46/6 of 23 March 2021, and other resolutions adopted by the Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights on the freedom of religion or belief or the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007,

Noting with appreciation the conclusions and recommendations of the expert workshops organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and contained in the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial and religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, adopted in Rabat on 5 October 2012,

Reaffirming that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated,

Recalling that States have the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights, including the human rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, including their right to exercise their religion or belief freely,

Deeply concerned at continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including persons belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world,

Underlining the importance of education in the promotion of tolerance, which involves the acceptance by the public of and its respect for diversity, including with regard to religious expression, and underlining also the fact that education, in particular at school, should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief,

1.Stresses that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, which includes the freedom to have or not to have, or to adopt, a religion or belief of one’s choice, and the freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance, including the right to change one’s religion or belief;

2.Emphasizes that freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing, and stresses the role that these rights can play in the fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief;

3.Expresses deep concern at emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and at instances of religious intolerance, discrimination and violence, inter alia:

(a)The increasing number of acts of violence directed against individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities in various parts of the world;

(b)The rise of religious extremism in various parts of the world that affects the rights of individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities;

(c)Incidents of religious hatred, discrimination, intolerance and violence, which may be manifested by derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and the stigmatization of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief;

(d)Instances that, both in law and in practice, constitute violations of the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief, including of the individual right to publicly express one’s spiritual and religious beliefs, taking into account the relevant articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international instruments;

(e)Constitutional and legislative systems that fail to provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief to all, without distinction;

(f)Attacks on religious places, sites and shrines and vandalism of cemeteries, in violation of international law, in particular international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

4.Condemns all forms of violence, intolerance and discrimination based on or in the name of religion or belief and violations of the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audiovisual or electronic media or any other means;

5.Also condemns violence and acts of terrorism, which are increasing in number and targeting individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities across the world;

6.Emphasizes that no religion should be equated with terrorism, as this may have adverse consequences for the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief of all members of the religious community concerned;

7.Also emphasizes that States should exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish acts of violence against persons belonging to religious minorities, regardless of the perpetrator, and that failure to do so may constitute a human rights violation;

8.Strongly encourages government representatives and leaders in all sectors of society and respective communities to speak out against acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief;

9.Urges States to step up their efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and to this end:

(a)To ensure that their constitutional and legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief to all, without distinction, by, inter alia, the provision of access to justice and effective remedies in cases where the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, or the right to freely practise one’s religion, including the right to change one’s religion or belief, is violated;

(b)To implement all accepted universal periodic review recommendations relating to the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief;

(c)To ensure that no one within their jurisdiction is deprived of the right to life, liberty or security of person because of religion or belief, and that no one is subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or arbitrary arrest or detention on that account, and to bring to justice all perpetrators of violations of these rights;

(d)To end violations of the human rights of women, and to devote particular attention to abolishing practices and legislation that discriminate against women, including in the exercise of their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief;

(e)To ensure that no one is discriminated against on the basis of his or her religion or belief in their access to, inter alia, education, medical care, employment, humanitarian assistance or social benefits, and to ensure that everyone has the right and the opportunity to have access, on general terms of equality, to public services in their country, without any discrimination on the basis of religion or belief;

(f)To review, whenever relevant, existing registration practices in order to ensure that such practices do not limit the right of all individuals to manifest their religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or private;

(g)To ensure that no official documents are withheld from the individual on the grounds of religion or belief, and that everyone has the right to refrain from disclosing information concerning their religious affiliation in such documents against their will;

(h)To ensure in particular the right of all individuals to worship, assemble or teach in connection with a religion or belief and their right to establish and maintain places for these purposes, and the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas in these areas;

(i)To ensure that, in accordance with appropriate national legislation and in conformity with international human rights law, the freedom of all individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities, to establish and maintain religious, charitable or humanitarian institutions is fully respected and protected;

(j)To ensure that all public officials and civil servants, including members of law enforcement bodies, and personnel of detention facilities, the military and educators, in the course of fulfilling their official duties respect freedom of religion or belief and do not discriminate for reasons based on religion or belief, and that all necessary and appropriate awareness-raising, education or training is provided;

(k)To take all necessary and appropriate action, in conformity with international human rights obligations, to combat hatred, discrimination, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by intolerance based on religion or belief, and any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, with particular regard to persons belonging to religious minorities in all parts of the world;

(l)To promote, through the educational system and other means, mutual understanding, tolerance, non-discrimination and respect in all matters relating to freedom of religion or belief by encouraging, in society at large, a wider knowledge of different religions and beliefs and of the history, traditions, languages and cultures of the various religious minorities existing within their jurisdiction;

(m)To prevent any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief that impairs the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis, and to detect signs of intolerance that may lead to discrimination based on religion or belief;

10.Stresses the importance of a continued and strengthened dialogue in all its forms, including among individuals of and within different religions and beliefs, and with broader participation, including of women, to promote greater tolerance, respect and mutual understanding, and takes note with appreciation of different initiatives in this regard, including the Alliance of Civilizations and the programmes led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization;

11.Welcomes and encourages the continuing efforts of all actors in society, including civil society organizations, religious communities, national human rights institutions, the media and other actors to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and also encourages their work in promoting freedom of religion or belief and in highlighting cases of religious intolerance, discrimination and persecution;

12.Calls upon States to make use of the potential of education to eradicate prejudice against and stereotypes of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief;

13.Takes note of the thematic report presented by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on the rights of persons belonging to religious or belief minorities in situations of conflict or insecurity;

14.Also takes note of the work of the Special Rapporteur, and concludes that there is a need for the continued contribution of the Special Rapporteur to the promotion, protection and universal implementation of the right to freedom of religion or belief;

15.Decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief for a further period of three years, and invites the Special Rapporteur to discharge the mandate in accordance with paragraph 18 of Human Rights Council resolution 6/37 of 14 December 2007;

16.Urges all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to the requests of the mandate holder to visit their countries, and to provide the mandate holder with all the information necessary to enable him or her to fulfil the mandate even more effectively;

17.Requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the human, technical and financial assistance necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate;

18.Requests the Special Rapporteur to report annually to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work;

19.Decides to remain seized of this question under the same agenda item and to continue its consideration of measures to implement the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

55 th meeting 31 March 202 2

[Adopted without a vote.]