With religious repression and violence by abusive governments and extremist groups becoming a daily reality across the globe, the International Panel for Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), a transnational network of parliamentarians, has been building collective political capital to shape legislation and public debate on religious freedom and belief for the last four years.
“This month we are celebrating four significant years. To this point, over 250 enlightened parliamentarians from across the globe have committed to this fight against religious persecution and repression”, said Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, UK House of Lords and one of the five members of the IPPFoRB Steering Committee.
“Every day, for the past four years, the IPPFoRB is building global capacity of parliamentarians to promote and defend religious freedom for everyone, everywhere.”
David Anderson, MP Canada and Chair of IPPFoRB Steering Committee
Officially established in 2014, the IPPFoRB came into effect after 30 parliamentarians from across the world signed the Oslo Charter, a document declaring commitment to achieving global religious freedom or belief, at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway. These 30 parliamentarians were the first members of IPPFoRB who pledged to make the world a safer place for religious minorities and vulnerable groups.
Abid Raja, MP Norway and member of the IPPFoRB Steering Committee added, “the IPPFoRB is a living testimony of committed agents of change coming together in support of freedom of religion or belief at home and abroad.”
Within a short span of four years, the network has grown across different geographical, political and religious boundaries. “Our success lies in IPPFoRB being a catalyst and convenor for collective political action, and an example of this are the ten national and three regional groups being formed in the last few years in countries as varied as Pakistan, Indonesia, and Honduras”, said Eva Sundari, MP Indonesia and a member of the IPPFoRB Steering Committee.
To mark its four-year anniversary, the IPPFoRB recently launched its new website that is also a valuable knowledge hub for parliamentarians and practitioners. Leonardo Quintão, member of the IPPFoRB Steering Committee noted, “from country profiles to informational toolkits, one can access all the resources they need on the topic of freedom of religion or belief!”