On December 2-3, 2022, the Dar al-Kalima University jointly organized with the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW) a consultation entitled “A Southwestern Asian and North African (SWANA) Consultation on FoRB (Freedom of Religion or Belief”. The consultation took place at the Elias Beach Hotel in Limassol-Cyprus, and gathered 20 participants (Christians, Muslims, secular and-or non-religious…) from SWANA (either living in the region or in diaspora), along with European partners. These participants represented civil society organizations, religious-based organizations, universities, national human rights/ women’s rights institutions, and SWANA sectoral bodies.
The two-day consultation was structured into workshops that encompassed interventions by participants and draft committees’ sessions, along with introductory, plenary, and concluding sessions. Three themes were tackled: 1) FoRB, Political Agendas and the Context of Southwestern Asia and North Africa; 2) Religious and Non-Religious Individuals and Communities’ Rights, and Diversity Management in Southwestern Asia and North Africa; 3) Personal Status Laws and Gender Equality in Southwestern Asia and North Africa).
The main goal of the consultation was to produce a regional response to FoRB in addition to providing a platform for SWANA stakeholders to share practices and experiences about freedom of religion or belief in SWANA. The participants discussed the challenges in addressing issues related to freedom of religion or belief in SWANA, its implications, opportunities, and strategies, as well as identified contextualized recommendations, and possible steps to move forward.
The participants stressed the importance of seeing FoRB within a larger framework of a Civic State based on rule of law, equal citizenship, and a comprehensive human rights approach.
The response will be made available to the public by mid-December on Dar al-Kalima’s website: https://www.daralkalima.edu.ps/en
PRESS COVERAGE IN ARABIC