Call for input issued by Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Nazila Ghanea, has issued a call for input to inform her upcoming report on transformative responses to the advocacy of hatred based on freedom of religion or belief to be submitted to the 55th session of the Human Rights Council.
The report will examine hatred and its relationship to intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief, as well as gaps in state and civil society responses to countering advocacy of such hatred. The Special Rapporteur is therefore inviting states, UN agencies, international organizations, national human rights institutions, businesses, and civil society organizations to provide input on the issues below:
- How, if at all, is advocacy of hatred defined in legal and policy frameworks, and how does it relate to intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief?
- To what extent are forms of hatred based on religion or belief perpetuated by broader prejudicial attitudes in society? What is the evidence base for this? Where do these prejudices emanate from?
- How are prejudicial attitudes among State actors, including law enforcement and justice operators, monitored, recognised and addressed? Please provide examples of the effectiveness, or otherwise, of such policies and practices.
- What are some of the instances and effects of the advocacy of hatred based on religion or belief:
- For adherents to various religions and beliefs, individually and collectively;
- Within religious and belief communities;
- In day-to-day violations or as embedded as drivers of marginalisation and violence;
- As crystallised into systemic and structural disadvantage against some target groups;
- How does hatred based on religion or belief overlap with other grounds of discrimination? How does it complicate the challenge and required responses?
- Are there particular times (e.g. religious festivals, election cycles, or times of heightened public anxiety such as terrorist attacks or economic recession); or particular actors (e.g. political, religious, social influencers); or particular forms (online, offline, films and theatre, school curricula); or particular objects and symbols - associated with manifestations of such hatred?
- How is hatred based on religion or belief countered at different levels, by State actors alone or in partnership with other actors, and to what effect? Have these resulted in prohibitions on expression and, if so, please detail how these measures are consistent with upholding international human rights obligations?
- Is there a role for religious and belief actors in countering advocacy to hatred based on religion or belief? Can you share some concrete examples?
- How are hatred, intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief monitored – including with data – and how is this evidence base used to counter the negative effects that result? To what extent is this data used as a basis for policy design and implementation?
- Provide details of legislative initiatives and case law, public policies, programmes, and projects aimed at countering hatred, intolerance and discrimination – including through positive initiatives towards managing religious and belief diversity – to ensure social inclusion and respect for the rights of all. Examples may include education, media, mediation, and interfaith dialogue, and civil society initiatives.
- What efforts are underway to understand the structural and systematic basis of hatred, and how to transform those structures, in order to eliminate the roots of the cancer of hate? Where possible, please provide details of those mandated to carry out these efforts and how they have engaged with groups who are the targets of such advocacy of hatred.
- What efforts are underway to support targets of hatred, intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief? Where possible, please provide details of the institutions, mechanisms and actors mandated to respond to the advocacy of hatred, along with budgets and performance indicators.
- Please provide information on the extent to which existing UN tools to counter hatred are used by the various stakeholders with a mandate to uphold human rights.
- What efforts are underway, or needed in your view, to ensure that ALL laws, policies, initiatives and efforts in this arena are rooted in an inclusive understanding of freedom of religion or belief for all and do not have a chilling effect on the full enjoyment of this right?
- Provide details where possible of civil society-led initiatives of the same.
The inputs should be submitted in English, French, or Spanish and contain a maximum of 2,500 words. The deadline for submission is 29 October 2023. Submissions can be sent to with the subject line “Input for 55 HRC report – SRFORB”. More information can be found in the attached document.