About this Course
Denial of the human right to freedom of religion or belief is a leading cause of repression, division and conflict across the globe. More than three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries with high levels of restrictions on religious people; these restrictions result in increases in social hostilities and violence. This course explores the complex issues related to freedom of expression, religious practice and treatment of minority religions in various regions of the world. Addressing these issues will require informed dialogue on religious freedom as a universal right; support for international and regional efforts to ensure full respect for the right to religion or belief; and identification, sharing and strengthening of good rule of law practices relating to religion or belief at the national and international levels. Based on historical and contemporary examples, the international case studies presented in this class will illustrate both the challenges of the right to freedom of religion or belief and the opportunity that rule of law strategies provide to help meet those challenges. Students will examine best practices for ensuring that public policies and laws align fully with international human rights standards. The course is designed to promote cross-cultural and interfaith understanding, thus contributing to an ongoing dialogue both between and within nations about the importance of the rule of law for promoting and protecting the human right to freedom of religion or belief.
(plus travel & lodging during the on-site seminars in Washington D.C.)