Keeping the Faith: A Study of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion in ASEAN

Cohen, David
Tan, Kevin
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Human Rights Resource Centre
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It is with great pleasure that I present to you the Human Rights Resource Centre’s fourth ASEAN-wide study, “Keeping the Faith: A Study of Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion in ASEAN”. Taking as its inspiration Article 22 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, through which ASEAN governments have committed to eliminat“all forms of intolerance, discrimination and incitement of hatred based on religion and beliefs”, the study seeks to capture the legal landscape pertaining to freedom of thought,conscience and religion in ASEAN. It also hopes to assist ASEAN Member States in working toward an agreed policy response in their implementation of this provision. By providing an overview of state practice on the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion across the region, and considering serious issues of religious persecution and conflict that pose a challenge to regional peace and stability, the Centre aims to contribute to an ongoing dialogue amongst civil society organizations, academia and government about how best to diffuse tensions amongst different religious groups as well as to foster greater understanding and acceptance of different religions and belief systems amongst ASEAN peoples. Religions and beliefs are both important identity markers within ASEAN, and ones which continue to provide a wealth of ideas and ways of seeing the world to flourish within the ASEAN community. It is our hope that through this study the Centre can further contribute toward that flourishing. This study would not have been possible without the guidance and support from our team of expert advisors and editors, Professor David Cohen of the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights andInternational Justice, Professor Kevin Tan from the National University of Singapore, Professor Tore Lindholm, Professor Emeritus of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, and Professors Cole Durham and Brett Scharffs from the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University. Our highest appreciation also goes to Dr. Jaclyn Neo, Lead Researcher on the study, and the outstanding country rapporteurs and research assistants. Once again, the study gathered both established and up and coming scholars from our research network. Last but not least, we would like to express our gratitude to the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta for their support in this endeavour.
Cohen, D. (2015). Keeping the Faith: A Study of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion in ASEAN. Human Rights Resource Centre, 1-558
567 pages
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