Promoting the freedom to believe

Countless people globally suffer harassment and persecution for their religion or belief. We are working to counteract that trend.


  • IPPFoRB, opprettet i 2014, er et uformelt nettverk med over 130 parlamentarikere og lovgivere fra mer enn 45 land
  • Nettverket har forpliktet seg til å promotere og beskytte tanke-, religions- og trosfrihet for alle som beskrevet i FNs menneskerettighetserklæring.
  • Den norske Helsinigforskomité har sekretariatet for IPPFoRB.

Therefore, we host the secretariat of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB). The global network of almost 250 Parliamentarians and legislators, seek to advance this fundamental freedom for everyone everywhere.  

One of the Parliamentarians in the worldwide network is Rachada Dhnadirek, who improves the lives of religious minorities in Thailand. She uses human rights tools and the NHC-supported network to succeed.  

“Millions of people all over the world are being discriminated against and persecuted because of their religion or belief”, Dhnadirek says.  

Belief under attack

Atheists in Egypt have been beaten and sentenced to prison for openly and peacefully espousing their worldview. Bahai’s in Iran are systematically discriminated against and harassed by Iranian authorities who, among other things, deny them categorically access to higher education. Yazidi men and women have been targeted because of their religious identity.  

The men have been slaughtered and the women have been sold as sex slaves. Christians in India are routinely attacked. Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia are systematically defined as violent extremists or terrorists, imprisoned and fined.  

Turning point 

Sunni Muslim Rohingya’s in Myanmar, are being methodically raped, tortured, driven from their homes and murdered. More than 83 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high or very high restrictions on Freedom of Religion or Belief. For Rachada Dhnadirek, the turning point was the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar. She began to take a more active role, contributing to linking women’s rights with FoRB. In Bangkok, she works on securing female participation in politics and provides education and training for youth politicians in her own party.  

“IPPFoRB changed my perspective toward religious discrimination and raised my global awareness. Together, we promote the notion that all people are free to believe, convert, and practice religion and belief peacefully”, she says. 

Transnational solutions

Religion, either as a belief system, a practice or an identity, is increasingly used as grounds or legitimation to discriminate and persecute; especially against religious and life-stance minorities. The problems are complex and often intertwined with other issues.  Both governments and civil society actors are perpetrators; some local and many trans-national, sharing ideas, resources and personnel across international borders.  

To counter this, solutions also need to be transnational and need to consider complicating factors and multiple actors. What is special about the IPPFoRB is its composition, ie parlimentarians. Parliamentarians are the persons who can reform negative legislation and compose legislation in line with universally accepted international Human Rights norms; parliamentarians who will hold their own governments accountable for upholding and implementing legislation; parliamentarians who will demand that their governments engage with and encourage other governments to live up to international obligations and standards; parliamentarians who will be champions of FoRB.  

The role of parliamentarians in monitoring, reporting and following up on freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief cannot be overestimated. Yet, before the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) was established, we had failed to comprehensively support this important work. I welcome IPPFoRB determined contributions in addressing this lacuna.



Promoting FoRB 

The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief is a network that builds the capacity of, enables and emboldens parliamentarians and other elected legislators to protect and promote FoRB.   

Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, has described the IPPFoRB as a source of hope. 

“The situation of freedom of religion or belief has dramatically deteriorated in many parts of the world, and countless people suffer harassment, intimidation, discrimination and persecution. One of the silverlinings in these gloomy days is the IPPFORB, which has brought together parliamentarians from all over the world who are committed to using their influence on behalf of religious freedom for all. This new dimension of advocacy is a source of hope, which is so urgently needed today.”  

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Contact us


Fernanda San Martin Carrasco

Director of International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFORB)Email: [email protected]
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Mar’yana Haydanka

Senior AdviserEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 35 91 49
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Sara Machado

Advocacy and Communications AdviserEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 453 80 822Twitter: @machadosara_
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