Freedom of Religion or Belief Threatened in Southeast Asia

Reports jointly produced by Asia Centre and International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion (IPPFoRB) reveal serious challenges to religious freedom in Southeast Asia.  The 11 country reports were released at IPPFoRB’s conference for ASEAN Parliamentarians  held in Bangkok  on 7th and 8th October 2017.  Dr. Robin Ramcharan of Asia Centre coordinated the research on behalf of IPPFoRB.


Looking at all the ASEAN countries, the research shows that religious freedom appears to be regressing in Southeast Asia.  Serious challenges have arisen in recent years across the region, such as in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, according to the reports.


The country reviews of each of the 11 States of the region provide a toolkit for parliamentarians, civil society and other stakeholders who want to engage on FoRB, especially in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council.


 “The reports provide a valuable resource for parliamentarians and civil society organisations across South East Asia,” said David Anderson, member of the IPPFoRB Steering Group and Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons.  He added: “I encourage ASEAN parliamentarians to use these expert reports to press their respective governments for the legislative and policy changes necessary to secure religious freedom.”


Asia Centre aims to continue its evidence based research on FoRB in Southeast Asia and its intersectionality with other fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression.