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South and Southeast Asia Regional Profile on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)

Author: Katherine Marshall

November 6, 2019

The South and Southeast Asia regions are marked by religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity. This diversity has regional, as well as national and local repercussions and notably can be a factor in transnational tensions and peace. Some nations have clearly framed understandings of citizen rights within diverse, inclusive communities. There are traditional foundations supporting interreligious harmony and tolerance on which to build positive relationships. However, various forces including disruptions linked to social and economic change, security threats, and changing ideas about religious politics and social norms challenge social and political stability and inclusive approaches in a significant number of settings. These contribute to regional tensions that range from violent conflict to patterns of discrimination and exclusion of certain individuals and communities. This brief highlights some of the factors that undermine tenets of freedom of religion or beliefs (FoRB) as a human right in the region. WFDD Executive Director Katherine Marshall was a lead author on the brief, developed as part of the Southeast Asia: Advancing Inter-Religious dialogue and Freedom of Religion or Belief project.

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