Freedom of religion and belief

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly in 1948, defines freedom of religion and belief as follows: "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".

In 1981, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief (A/RES/36/55)

In 1986, the UN Commission on Human Rights created the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to investigate religious intolerance worldwide. The Special Rapporteur provides reports and annual reports to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

Beirut declaration

Beirut declaration 2017 calls on all believers of all faiths to defend the fundamental rights against discrimination and violence, Beirut Declaration on "Faith for Rights".

Linked to the Beirut Declaration are 18 commitments - Faith for rights - to uphold human rights, including pledges to avoid invoking "State religion" in order to justify discrimination against any individual or group, to ensure gender equality and minority rights, to refrain from oppressing critical voices and to engage with children and youth.

Human Rights, conventions and declaration

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
Last modified: 2024-02-15