On this International Day of Conscience, we as an APPG recognise the challenges that must be overcome to ensure freedom of conscience for all and its relevance to Freedom of Religion or Belief. We call on government leaders to do more to release prisoners of conscience and put an end to imprisonment on such grounds. In particular, we support the immediate safe release of Mubarak Bala, Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh, Leah Sharibu, and Nguyễn Bắc Truyển – about whom more information can be found here.
As an APPG we work to advocate on behalf of prisoners of conscience in different countries and aim to raise awareness of those who are imprisoned for holding different religious or belief views from that of the majority in which they live. We are always grateful to parliamentarians who support this work, and who use their voice to advocate for those who cannot do so.
We must not ignore the overlap between freedom of religion or belief and freedom of conscience. Globally, thousands of people suffer imprisonment for speaking or acting in accord with their conscience. This is a clear violation of human rights and threatens freedom of religion or belief more broadly.
On this International Day of Conscience, we urge more parliamentarians to advocate on behalf of a prisoner of conscience to help raise awareness of their cause, ask for action from officials in this country and abroad, and to safeguard against further violations of human rights, particularly as pertains to freedom of religion or belief. Together, we believe that we can live in a free society where freedom of religion or belief for all is a reality.