Symposium on Freedom of Religion or Belief
MPV brings religion and women's rights into conversation...
In May, MPV organized a Symposium on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Cultural Rights and Women, in partnership with Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and Dr. Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. The Symposium sought to create a space in which religious and cultural narratives could be discussed in relation to the structures and attitudes that sustain patriarchal and misogynistic gender roles and stereotypes. Human rights experts and advocates, grassroots women’s rights activists, faith-based organizations, and feminist and religious scholars were brought together as panelists to interrogate these themes, and to take stock of the reprisals and consequences women and girls experience when they speak out against rights violations in the name of religion or culture.
While opening the session on linkages and impacts between women’s rights and the right to freedom of religion and belief, Dr. Shaheed remarked that “the human rights framework gives primacy to the protection of the rights of human beings, not of religions per se.” We stand by and affirm this normative understanding of freedom of religion or belief and appreciate and acknowledge the importance of Dr. Shaheed’s participation in the Ministerial, especially given its aim to “elevate the focus of religious freedom in regional and multilateral organizations within the international community.”
If you would like to learn more about this event, we invite you to read and/or download the Symposium Report.