What is Freedom of Religion?

Freedom of religion or belief is a human right that gives every person the right to have, to change, or to leave his or her religion or belief.

It is a human right to practice one’s religion or belief alone or together with others, privately or in public, for example through worship, preaching, or teaching.

Freedom of religion or belief gives the state the responsibility to protect all citizens against coercion and discrimination on the grounds of religion or similar reasons. Still, more than three fourths of the world’s population live in countries where freedom of religion or belief is greatly constrained by the state or by social antagonism which give rise to hate crimes, violent riots or terrorism linked to religion.

We Promote Freedom of Religion For All

In many of these countries, our member organisations and their partners are working for a better world. We know that women are often more severely affected by violations against the freedom of religion or belief than men. For this reason we see freedom of religion or belief as key in our work for gender equality, and also vital in furthering other rights such as the right to freedom of speech.

On the basis of our Christian values, we believe that every person is created in the image of God with a free will, ability, and with a mandate to take responsibility for this world. Violations of the freedom of religion or belief prevent people from living their lives in fullness; therefore preventing the development of equal, peaceful, and democratic societies. This is why we work for the freedom of religion or belief as a human right for all regardless of their belief or religious affiliation.

We Educate About Freedom of Religion

We believe that freedom of religion or belief should be a prioritised issue in Sweden’s and the EU’s foreign policy. We therefore dialogue with and educate responsible civil servants so that they develop a deeper understanding about the issues.

Together with our member organisations, we also educate local actors in countries where freedom of religion and belief is greatly constrained. This creates better conditions globally, not only for freedom of religion or belief, but also for equality and democratic development.

Read our report about how freedom of religion and democracy belong together.

You can Contribute to a Culture of Religious Freedom

You can make a difference by learning more about freedom of religion or belief and reflecting on how your own values affect the rights of other people.

Faith and Democracy Belong Together

Respect for human rights is a prerequisite for a democratic society. Read more about our work for religious literacy and what we mean by bilingualism.