According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
Unfortunately, the freedom to pursue religious preferences and individual faiths is a still being refused to many people in the world. Individuals across the globe from the United States to Turkey, from Serbia to China are challenged daily in their attempts to practice their beliefs freely. Repression of religious freedom can happen via individual intimidation or, in the most extreme cases, via systematic repression of an entire culture or people based on their religious affiliations. More than a million Tibetans, for example, have died during the Chinese occupation of their country, from torture, starvation, and execution, according to the Tibetan Government in exile. More than 6,000 monasteries and their contents, irreplaceable jewels of Tibetan culture, were destroyed. Tibetans are routinely imprisoned and tortured for non-violently expressing their views and despite the peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa and elsewhere, the situation with the Chinese authorities seems increasingly tense.
Sources: International Campaign for Tibet
ACLU on Religious Freedom:
Information on efforts by the American Civil Liberties Union to protect religious freedom in the USA.
Anti-Defamation League - Religious Freedom:
Information on religious freedom from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL fights anti-Semitism and bigotry.
Center for Religious Freedom:
This Center defends against religious persecution of all groups throughout the world. Currently, it is running a campaign to defend persecuted Christians. The Center is a division of Freedom House.
Fulan Gong information from Human Rights in China.
Karamah means "Dignity." This organization of Muslim women lawyers focuses on human rights issues of Muslims around the world.
Religious Freedom Home Page:
General information on a person's right to practice a religion.This site isnon-denominational.
Religious Freedom International:
RFI opposes any violation of the right of each person to freely hold and to express his or her convictions or beliefs.
Bibliography & Publication Links:
Center for Religious Freedom Publications Listing:
Country reports and newsletters on religious freedom from the past few years.
Politics By Other Means: Attacks Against Christians In India:
Human Rights Watch reports that right-wing Hindu organizations are attacking Christiansas part of an organized campaign to increase their political power-base. The report also criticizes the Indian government for failing to prevent the violence.
The 1999 International Religious Freedom Report:
This report prepared by the U.S. government describes the status of religious freedom worldwide and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom.
Tibet Organization Links:
Free Tibet Campaign:
Latest news on Tibet and the way the international community has responded to the Tibetan cause.
The Government of Tibet In Exile:
Official site of the Dalai Lama
International Campaign for Tibet:
Provides history of religious oppression (persecution in Tibet) along with more current news about human rights violations in Tibet.
UK registered charity founded in 1985 to create a greater awareness of Tibetan culture. Includes web magazine and articles.
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy:
Tibetan Non-Government Organization