Skip to content

Office of the Special Representative for Freedom of Religion or Belief

  

The Danish Government’s initiative for Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of Religious and Belief Minorities

The Danish Office of the Special Representative for Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of Religious and Belief Minorities was established in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 2018. The Danish Government’s aim is to promote Freedom of Religion or Belief globally with an approach firmly rooted in the individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief as stipulated in article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The Danish approach to freedom of religion or belief is based on four fundamental principles:

Universal: Denmark’s approach is firmly based on the freedom of religion or belief as enshrined in art. 18 of the ICCPR and the international conventions as described above. Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right equal to all other human rights. It is not a divine right, but a universal right for all, and should be defended by all.

Inclusive: The protection of freedom of religion or belief is broad, including both non-theistic and atheistic beliefs. Thus, it is important to emphasize the “B” for Belief in FoRB to ensure freedom of religion or belief for everyone.

Preventive: Freedom of religion or belief is the litmus test of the fundamental human rights in a society or as the canary in the coalmine. Restrictions and limitations on the individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief warns us that other human rights may be at risk, so we must act to protect this freedom and all other human rights.

Indivisible: Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right no more important than other human rights, but equal and indivisible to all other human rights.

  

The Government’s strategy to promote freedom of religion or belief and protection of belief minorities contains five tracks: 

Track 1: Mobilization of the international community for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief

Track 2: A thematic focus on the two intersections between Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Equality, and Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Track 3: A geographical focus on the immediate neighborhood of the EU, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Track 4: Dialogue and cooperation with countries on freedom of religion or belief, where it is relevant and possible

Track 5: The tracking of a number of cases of individuals persecuted for belief or religious reasons.

     

Combating antisemitism
The Office for Freedom of Religion or Belief is taking part in the national and international cooperation to combat antisemitism together with the Ministry of Justice and other parts of the central administration in Denmark. The Office represents Denmark in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which Denmark joined as a member in 2004. The Ambassador and Special Representative for freedom of religion or belief serves as head of the Danish delegation to the IHRA.

Contact
Ambassador and Special Representative for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Michael Suhr, leads the Danish Office for Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

 

Click here to contact the Office of the Special Representative for Freedom of Religion or Belief.

At this site, you can read more about the Office’s activities.