Welcome to the premier Internet site for researchers seeking information related to freedom of conscience, religion, or belief. We welcome you to browse the site to discover its functions.
- News Articles.
- International Headline News, posted daily. New users, subscribe to a daily e-mail digest at the Create Account link above. Current site users: Sign in to your account and click User Account to select Subscription Services.
- Countries: documents, court cases, conference reports, news, and other items related to each of the world's countries.
- International Organizations: documents produced by major governmental, inter-governmental, and non-governmental organizations.
- Topics: documents in our database organized by topics related to freedom of religion or belief.
The site is a work in continuous progress, and we welcome your input. Feel free to Give Feedback using the link on the top right of this page. We look forward to hearing from you.
Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University and Professor Javier Martínez-Torrón of the Law Faculty of Complutense University in Madrid, General Reporters for the topic Religion and the Secular State for The 18th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law, along with Donlu Thayer, Project Editor, are pleased to announce the publication in final form of the National Reports prepared on this topic.
The Congress is the once-every-four-years meeting of the experts of the International Academy of Comparative Law. The 18th Congress, held in Washington, DC, in July 2010, was the first Congress of this 90-year-old Academy to be held in the United States. The Reports prepared on the topic Religion and the Secular State for this occasion by 60 experts from 45 countries were published... more
Experts on the law and religious freedom spoke at the conference, "Religious Freedom in a Secular World," at the Brigham Young University Conference Center 7-9 July 2014. This conference provided an up-to-date review of the status of laws impacting religious freedom in the United States and around the world. CLE credit was available for lawyers in attendance.
The faculty of the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies and selected experts including William F. Atkin, Thomas C. Berg, Michael W. Durham, Alexander Dushku, J. Clifton Fleming, Frederick Mark Gedicks, Luke Goodrich, Brian Grim, David Hacker, Alan Hurst, Scott Isaacson, Michael A. Jensen, Richard Moon, David Moore, Steven M. Sandberg, Gene Schaerr, Robert Snyder, Lynn Wardle, Robin Fretwell Wilson, addressed the following... more
The Second Annual Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy, which took place 23-27 June 2014 at St. Hugh's College, Oxford, UK, was enjoyed by more than 100 participants and presenters from 20 countries. The summer academy is a major international event which brings together leading academics, policy makers, international officials, and practicing lawyers working in the field of law, religion, and international relations. This year's event included a number of parliamentarians and other government officials, editors of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, members of clergy, representatives of NGOs and think-tanks, academics and organizational researchers, as well as students, publishers, journalists, and other visitors.
Keynote addresses were delivered by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, Member, House of Lords, and Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief of the British Parliament; Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Commissioner, United State Commission on International Religious Freedom; Professor Paul Fiddes, Professor of Systematic Theology in the... more
On June 17 through June 19, a seminar entitled "Religion in a Changing World" was held in Vladivostok, Russia. The International Center for Law and Religion at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School, the Far-East Federal University’s School of Humanitarian Sciences, the Russian Association for the Study of Religion, and the Slavic Legal Center organized the event. Among those present were representatives of different faiths, local government entities, and members of the press. During the three-day seminar, round-table discussions... more
The International Academy for the Study of the Jurisprudence of the Family ("IASJF") held its seventh international symposium on Monday and Tuesday, June 9-10, 2014, at the Faculty of Law, University of La Coruña, Spain. The symposium focused on "Family and Religion: Juridical Dimensions," addressing the issues related to the topic from a juridical point of view. Selected submitted papers from the 2014 Symposium will be published in the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family.
The conference "Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law", featuring leading experts from Europe and North America, took place at The Temple in London on Saturday 7 June 2014. Conveners of the conference were Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple, and Mark Hill QC, Bencher of the Inner Temple, with Professor Robert Blackburn, Kings College London. The keynote address was given by The Rt Hon. The Lord Judge of Draycote, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. The conference was followed by a participative workshop on the morning of Sunday 8 June to be led by Professor David Kirkham of Brigham Young University.
The conference Religions and Constitutional Transitions in the Muslim Mediterranean: "The Pluralistic Moment" was held 3-5 June 2014 at Insubria University in Como, Italy. Co-sponsored by Insubria's International Center for Religion, Law and Economy in the Mediterranean Area and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, the conference aimed at investigating the role and place of religion in the present constitutional transitions in the Islamic Mediterranean area, paying special attention to experience with rule by Islamic-oriented political parties in recent transitional contexts. The effort was to analyze pressing concerns flowing from increasing pluralism for states, religions, and societies and the consequences for their normative systems.... more
The Istanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law Research Center and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee: Freedom of Belief Initiative held a Conference on “Legal Personality of Belief Communities in Turkey: Seeking a Path” on May 30th, 2014 at the İstanbul Bilgi University Dolapdere Campus. The goal of the conference was to increase understanding of the right to acquire legal personality, which remains key for the effective protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief for all belief communities in Turkey. The list of speakers and sessions can be found on the conference website. Simultaneous translation was provided.
The Second Conference on Law and Religion in Africa took place at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) Monday 26 to Wednesday 28 May 2014. Some 60 scholars, legal professionals, and religious leaders from 15 countries participated in this conference, focusing on the theme "Law and Religion in Africa – The Quest for the Common Good in Pluralistic Societies."
As a major event of the conference, the new African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS) was officially launched, with Prof dr Pieter Coertzen as President. Published papers from the First Conference on Law and Religion in Africa, "Comparative Practices, Experiences, and Prospects" – which was held in Legon, Ghana, in 2013 – were made available.
The conference was opened with welcome addresses by conference organizers Pieter Coertzen and W. Cole Durham, Jr. Keynote addresses were given by Justice Albie Sachs, Emeritus Justice of the Constitutional Court... more
The conference "Varieties of Secularism" was held at Central European University in Budapest on 23-24 May 2014. The conference was co-sponsored by the CEU Legal Studies Department and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies ICLRS of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Speakers at the conference were Renata Uitz, Chair of the CEU Legal Studies Department; W. Cole Durham, Jr. and Brett G. Scharffs, ICLRS Director and Associate Director, as well as Douglas Laycock (US), Iain Benson (South Africa), Joseph David and Asher Maoz (Israel), Andrea Pin (Italy), András Sajó (Judge, European Court of Human Rights), Tahir Mahmood (India), Haldun Gulalp (Turkey), Tore Lindholm (Norway), Louis-Léon Christians (Belgium), and Jeroen Temperman (Netherlands).
A Regional consultation on Promoting the Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN was held in Jakarta from 19-20 February 2014 hosted by HRWG – Human Rights Working Group, a Coalition of Indonesian NGOs for International Human Rights Advocacy, in partnership with the Indonesian Representative for AICHR, Mr. Rafendi Djamin, and supported by the Canadian Government. Participants included members of AICHR, ACWC, representatives of relevant governmental agencies from ASEAN Member States, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI’s) from Indonesia and the Philippines, Think Tanks and academes, Human Rights NGOs, interfaith dialogue organizations, and religious organization from several ASEAN Member States and representatives from the diplomatic community in Jakarta.... more
- Ian Leigh & Andrew Hambler: Religious Symbols, Conscience, and the Rights of Others
- Javier Garcia Oliva & Helen Hall: Same-Sex Marriage: An Inevitable Challenge to Religious Liberty
Dr. Graz with Eric Baxter
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society were honored to present to Dr. John Graz, Secretary-General of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), the 2013 Religious Liberty Award. The award was presented at an Awards Dinner held October 10, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Those in attendance were also privileged to hear remarks from former senator Gordon Smith, who spoke on the unique link between American history and religious freedom.
Also honored at the dinner were the winners of the 2013 Religious Liberty Essay Contest. Eric Baxter, Chair of the D.C. Mid-Atlantic Chapter for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society presented awards to James Cleith Phillips, Ethan Blevins, Landes Taylor, and Spencer R. Nelson for their essays treating aspects of religious freedom in law, jurisprudence, and legal scholarship.... more
More than 80 distinguished delegates from more than 40 countries met, along with approximately 200 guests and students at the Twentieth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, held October 6-9, 2013 at the J. Reuben Clark Law School on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Delegates
The theme of this year's conference – "Religion and Human Rights" – was chosen for its timeliness and urgency, and also in acknowledgment of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of the Edict of Milan, the 313 A.D. agreement between the Roman Emperors of the East and the West... more
Results of a new Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project study on social hostilities toward and global restrictions on religion were released on 20 June 2013. This is the fourth time the Pew Research Center has reported on religious restrictions around the globe.
From the Report: "At the onset of the Arab Spring in late 2010 and early 2011, many world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, expressed hope that the political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa would lead to greater freedoms for the people of the region, including... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS, Brigham Young University), in partnership with the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) and the University of Social Science and Humanities (USSH at Vietnam National University Hanoi) hosted the second ten-day certificate training program on "Religion and the Rule of Law" in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, from 16-25 September 2013. This program is designed to systematically build an intellectual infrastructure to help guide the current and emerging generation of Vietnamese scholars, government officials, policy advisors, and religious leaders, as they work to improve policy on religious freedom in their own contexts. The process is intended to provide a network for change, so that these Vietnamese leaders can make the case from within... more
Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Kirchentag President, Gerhard Robbers (photo credit: Kirchentag Jardine)
As President of the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag (German Protestant Church), Professor Gerhard Robbers presided over the 34th Annual Protestant Church Conference held May 1-5, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany. Some 160,000 people — including a number of high-profile politicians — met to pray, celebrate, and discuss together in the event, whose theme was "Soviel du brauchst" ("As much as you need").
The 650-page program of the Congress listed 2500 events, from the opening service on Wednesday afternoon to the "vast closing Eurcharist" on Wednesday evening. The text for the closing eucharist was from Micah: "They shall all sit under their own vines, and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid." The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick... more
Vol. 2, No. 1 now available online and in print:
- David H. McIlroy : Locke and Rawls on Religious Toleration and Public Reason
- V. Bradley Lewis : Religious Freedom, the Good of Religion and the Common Good: The Challenges of Pluralism, Privilege and the Contraceptive Services Mandate
- Alice Donald : Advancing Debate about Religion or Belief, Equality and Human Rights: Grounds for Optimism?
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies announces the third Religious Freedom Discussion Series. The lectures, followed by a brief question & answer period, are held in room 472 JRCB on the campus of Brigham Young University at noon on six Wednesdays each year, and are simulcast by limited-space Webinar to listeners worldwide. The public is invited to attend the lectures in person. For those joining by Webinar, early registration to secure a place is encouraged. Webinar links are available on iclrs.org one week before each lecture.
The right to freedom of religion is increasingly vulnerable worldwide. Recent studies find that 75 percent of the world’s population live under high or very high restrictions on... more
Worldwide, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group. A comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.... more
Registration is now open! Competition in Minsk, 21-25 May 2013
International Law Competition “Youth for Peace” is an annual contest for law students from different countries. The participants are expected to demonstrate excellent knowledge of international humanitarian law, international public law and human rights law, as well as ability to adapt to the changing environment. The Competition provides law students with an opportunity to enrich and extend their knowledge in the sphere of international humanitarian law through participation in the simulated armed conflict. In previous seven years the Competition has seen student teams from more than 30 countries around the world.... more
The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has on September 20, 2012 released the third in a series of reports analyzing the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. The new report looks at the extent and direction of change in religious restrictions from the year ending in mid-2009 to the year ending in mid-2010. Where appropriate, it also compares the situation as of mid-2010 with the situation in the baseline year of the study (mid-2006 to mid-2007). According... more