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Interim report on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief prepared by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights


          United Nations
          questions, including alternative
          enjoyment of human rights and
          Distr.: General
          23 September 1999
          Original: English/French
          Elimination of all forms of religious intolerance
          Note by the Secretary-General
          The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General
          Assembly the interim report on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of
          discrimination based on religion or belief prepared by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special
          Rapporteur of the Commission on Hum an Rights, pursuant to General Assemblyresolution
          53/140 of 9 December 1998.
          General Assembly
          Fifty-fourth session
          Agenda item 116 (b)
          iluman rights questions: human rights
          approaches for improving the effective
          fundamental freedoms
          99-27290(E) 211099 301099
          Interim report on the elimination of all forms of intolerance
          and of discrimination based on religion or belief prepared by
          the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights
          Paragraphs Page
          I. Introduction 1—2 3
          II. Report on communications sent by the Special Rapporteur and replies received
          from States since the publication of the report submitted to the Commission on
          Human Rights at its fifty-fifth session 3—97 3
          A. First series of communications and replies 12—40 4
          B. Second series of communications and replies 41—83 7
          C. Late replies/failure to reply to communications sent for the fifty-fifth
          session of the Commission on Human Rights 84 —95 12
          D. Late reply/absence of reply to the communications transmitted for the
          fifty-fourth session of the Commission on Human Rights 96—97 14
          III. Follow-up of the Special Rapporteur's initiatives concerning the identification
          of legislation and the preparation of studies on the subject of tolerance and
          non-discrimination based on religion and belief and the creation of a culture of
          tolerance 98—102 14
          A. Legislation and studies 98—100 14
          B. Culture of tolerance 101—102 15
          IV Initiatives of the Commission on Human Rights, States and non-governmental
          organizations 103—122 16
          A. Commission on Human Rights 103—119 16
          B. Initiatives by States and non-governmental organizations 120—122 17
          V In situ visits and follow-up 123—127 18
          VI. Conclusions and recommendations 128—153 19
          A. Religious extremism 129—131 19
          B. Policies adversely affecting freedom of religion and belief 132 20
          C. Discrimination attributed to religion and affecting women 133—153 20
          I. Introduction
          1. At its forty-second session, the Commission on
          Human Rights decided, byresolution 1986/20 of 10 March
          1986, to appoint for one year a special rapporteur to
          examine incidents and governmental actions in all parts
          of the world inconsistent with the provisions of the
          Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance
          and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and to
          recommend remedial measures.
          2. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur has been
          regularly renewed, in particular by resolution 1998/18
          adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its
          fifty-fourth session. Since 1988, the Special Rapporteur
          has presented the following reports to the Commission
          on Human Rights: E/CN.4/1 987/35, E/CN.4/1 988/45
          and Add. 1, E/CN.4/1 989/44, E/CN.4/1 990/46,
          E/CN.4/1 991/56, E/CN.4/1 992/52, E/CN.4/1993/62 and
          Corr. 1 and Add. 1, E/CN.4/1 994/79, E/CN.4/1 995/91 and
          Add. 1, E/CN.4/1 996/95 andAdd. land 2, E/CN.4/1997/91
          and Add.l, E/CN.4/1998/6 and Add.l and 2, and
          E/CN.4/l 999/58 and Add. 1 and 2. Since 1994, the Special
          Rapporteur has also been submitting interim reports to the
          General Assembly (AI50/440, A/5l/542 and Add. 1 and 2,
          A/52/477 and Add. 1, and A/53/279). This interim report
          is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution
          53/140 of 9 December 1998.
          II. Report on communications sent by
          the Special Rapporteur and replies
          received from States since the
          publication of the report submitted
          to the Commission on Human Rights
          at its fifty-fifth session
          3. This report relates to communications sent since the
          publication of the report submitted to the Commission on
          Human Rights at its fifty-fifth session and prior to the
          closure of that session (8 January-30 April 1999), and to
          communications sent since that session (after 30 April
          1999). The replies received by the Special Rapporteur are
          also reflected.
          4. With regardtothe first series ofcommunications, the
          following States were contacted: Bangladesh, Bolivia,
          Bulgaria, China, Com oros, Democratic People's Republic
          of Korea, Eritrea, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel,
          Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russian
          Federation, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan,
          Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
          5. Of these 24 communications (including one urgent
          appeal to Iraq), sent to 24 States, for which the deadline
          for replying has expired, nine States have replied:
          Bulgaria, China, Eritrea, Greece, Iraq, Republic of Korea,
          Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic andUzbekistan.
          6. With regardto the second series of communications,
          50 allegations (including one urgent appeal to the Islamic
          Republic of Iran) were sent to 41 States: Afghanistan,
          Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam,
          Bulgaria, Cape Verde, China (2), Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire,
          Cyprus, Dem ocratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti,
          Dominican Republic, Finland, Gabon, Georgia (2), Greece,
          India (2), Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel (3), Kazakhstan,
          Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mozambique,
          Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan (2), Republic of
          Moldova, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic,
          Turkmenistan, Ukraine (2), United Arab Emirates,
          Uzbekistan (2), Viet Nam and Yemen.
          7. Of the 38 States for which the deadline for replying
          has expired, Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Finland, Georgia, the
          Islamic Republic of Iran and Kuwait have replied.
          8. In total, 65 communications (including two urgent
          appeals) were sent to 49 States.
          9. Since the deadline for replying has not yet expired
          for seven communications, addressed to China, Greece,
          India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and VietNam,these
          allegations will be summarized in the next report to the
          Commission on Human Rights.
          10. The Special Rapporteur has also noted in this report
          the replies received and the absence of replies to
          communications sent for the Commission's fifty-fourth and
          fifty-fifth sessions.
          11. The SpecialRapporteurwishestopointoutthatthese
          communications do not cover all the incidents and
          governmental actions in the world that are incompatible
          with the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of
          Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or
          Belief The fact that only a few States are covered in this
          report does not mean that other States are problem-free.
          Moreover, the length of a communication and/or the
          existence of several communications for a single State do
          not indicate the seriousness of the intolerance and
          discrimination in question. Likewise, while each
          communication refers to a given type of intolerance, this
          does not necessarily mean that other types of intolerance
          or discrimination do not occur in the same State. The
          communications concern cases of intolerance or
          discrimination, but it must be borne in mind that these
          cases may represent either completely isolated
          manifestations which are exceptional or manifestations that
          reveal an overall situation of intolerance and
          discrimination. Furthermore, the situations referred to in
          the communications may affect freedom of religion and
          belief or certain dim ensions of those freedoms. Sometimes
          they affect the whole of society or certain communities or
          religious minorities. Also, the communications clearly do
          not cover all religions and beliefs and the frequency with
          which certain religions and beliefs, are referred to in the
          communications does not indicate their general situation
          in the world.
          A. First series of conununications and replies
          12. Bangladesh. It is alleged that, on her return to
          Bangladesh to be with her sickm other, there were renewed
          calls for the murder of the writer Taslima Nasreen by
          Muslim extremists, who accused her of blasphemy The
          prosecution of the writer under article 295 of the Penal
          Code “for having deliberately and maliciously outraged the
          religious sentim ents of a class of citizens” is said to have
          been resumed; likewise, an order for her arrest and the
          confiscation of her property is said to have been issued.
          13. Bolivia. The right to conscientious objection on
          grounds of religious belief is reportedly not recognized in
          law and it seems that there is no provision for any
          alternative form of service.
          14. Bulgaria. In December 1998, a Jehovah's Witness
          was allegedly imprisoned, in accordance with a judicial
          decision upheld by the Court of Cassation, because of his
          conscientious objection to military service. This sentence
          seems to be inconsistent with both the Constitution, which
          guarantees the right to perform alternative service, and a
          law on alternative service that was adopted in October 1998
          and entered into force on 1 January 1999.
          15. The Government ofBulgaria confirm edthe sentences
          andthe detention ofthe Jehovah's Witness in question, but
          stated that this person had been pardoned by the Vice-
          President of the Republic and released on 8 March 1999.
          The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government ofBulgaria
          for its prompt response and, while warmly welcoming the
          pardon, wishes to know whether this measure, which does
          not solve the problem of principle, was motivated by the
          apparent inconsistency of the detention with the
          Constitution and the new legislation on alternative service.
          16. China. It is alleged that, in October and November
          1998 and January 1999, in Henan province, the security
          services arrestedm embers of Protestant congregations not
          recognized by the authorities. Since the reply by China
          could not be translated before the finalization of this
          document, it will be summarized in the next report of the
          Special Rapporteur.
          17. Comoros. The right to conscientious objection on
          grounds of religious belief appears not to be recognized in
          18. Eritrea. The right to conscientious objection on
          grounds of religious belief appears not to be recognized in
          law. The Government of Eritrea explained that, under its
          legislation, military service is compulsory for a period of
          18 months, consisting of six months of military training
          and 12 months of civic activities. It stated that no
          exemption wasprovided, except in the case of persons who
          had fought in the national liberation war. The Special
          Rapporteur' s comm ents on the Republic of Korea are also
          relevant with respect to Eritrea.
          19. Russian Federation. It is reported that, since 1996,
          the Moscow Prosecutor of the Northern Administrative
          Circuit has brought charges on five occasions against the
          congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in the capital. The
          first four cases were abandoned because of lack of
          evidence. In September 1998, new charges were brought
          under the 1997 Act on freedom of conscience andreligious
          organizations in respect of the proselytizing activities of
          the Jehovah's Witnesses, which were deemed illegal on the
          grounds that they foster religious discord and are a threat
          to Russian family life. If this prosecution was successful,
          the registration of the Jehovah's Witnesses would be
          revoked and their congregation would be banned in
          Moscow. Since the reply by the Russian Federation could
          not be translated before the finalization of this document,
          it will be summarized in the next report of the Special
          20. Greece. It is allegedthatthe municipality ofGalatsi,
          a number of its residents and the officially recognized
          Greek Orthodox Church are attempting to take possession
          of the Church of Saint Savas in Panorama Galatsiou
          region, which belongs to the Old Calendarist Orthodox
          Church, despite a judgement in the latter's favour.
          Furthermore, members of the Old Calendarist Orthodox
          Church are said to have been arrested and charged with
          disturbing a religious gathering ofpersons who were in fact
          using their church illegally
          21. The Government of Greece replied: “On examination
          of the case of the property of the Church of Saint Savas in
          the Panoram a Galatsiou region, contested bythe Orthodox
          Church and the Old Calendarists', the competent Greek
          authorities have concluded that what seems like an act of
          religious extremism in the information received by the
          Special Rapporteur is in reality a civil law controversy,
          upon which the competent Courts of Justice have
          undertaken and, as acts liable to punishment have taken
          place meanwhile, the case is pending before justice”.
          22. India. Violence against Christians, notably in
          Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Punjab and
          Maharashtra states, is reportedly continuing in the form
          of attacks on places of worship, property, churchgoers and
          clergy This situation remains unchanged despite the
          assurances of the country's highest authorities.
          23. Indonesia. It is reported that, in December 1998 in
          Jakarta at the beginning ofRamadan, approximately one
          thousandMuslim s attacked Catholic and Protestantplaces
          of worship as well as a Catholic school. It seems that these
          incidents were finally halted by the police and the army.
          In November 1998, sectarian clashes allegedlyresulted in
          the deaths of 13 Christians and the destruction of churches
          and mosques. These events are said to have occurred in
          part because of religious extremism affecting the Muslim
          and Christian communities.
          24. Iraq. The urgent appeal sent to Iraq concerned the
          assassination ofAyatollah Mohamm ad Sadeck al-Sadr and
          his two sons and the subsequent demonstrations by Shiites
          in the suburbs of Baghdad, and in Kerbala and Nassiriya.
          This appeal also drew attention to allegations ofrepression
          by the armed forces (25 persons assassinated and 250
          injured in Baghdad).
          25. The Government oflraq replied that it was committed
          to guaranteeing the freedom of its various communities and
          religions and the security of their national and religious
          symbols, in accordance with the rights and guarantees of
          the Constitution and the national legislation. It added that
          the guaranteeing of the security of all Iraqi citizens was the
          responsibility of the Iraqi State and its people. It
          emphasized that the murder of Ayatollah Mohammad
          Sadeck al-Sadr was a great loss for Iraq since he had been
          a great imam and an authority on Islam, devoted to
          education, prayer, national unity and the fight against
          forces hostile to Iraq. In particular, he had called for a
          jihad against the imperialist forces that were oppressing
          the Iraqi people bymeans ofan economic blockade and air
          strikes. It stated that those making accusations againstlraq
          without waiting for the results of the investigation under
          way were the same persons who had accused the Iraqi
          Government of imposing Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeck
          al-Sadr as a religious leader. The Government asked how
          its Government can be accused of the murder of this
          dignitary when he had condemned the allies of the United
          States of Am erica andthe UnitedKingdom ofGreatBritain
          and Northern Ireland, who, styling themselves the “Iraqi
          opposition”, were seeking the financial support of the
          American Administration for the purpose of sowing
          discord in Iraq. The United States and its allies should be
          the subject of the accusations. The allegations of
          dem onstrations and arrests were disputed. The Government
          stated that Arab and foreign news services that had visited
          the areas concerned had reported that the situation was
          calm and normal, and said that it would transmit the
          results of the investigation under way The Special
          Rapporteur is awaiting with interest the outcome of this
          26. Israel. Ultra-orthodox Jews are said to be creating a
          climate of intolerance in Israel. In November 1998, in
          Kiryat Malachi, an American couple engaged in
          humanitarian work with Ethiopian immigrants was
          allegedly attacked by young ultra-orthodox Jews who
          suspected them of proselytizing. In the town of Beersheba
          (Negev), one thousand ultra-orthodox Jews (haredim),
          acting on a rumour spread in the synagogues alleging that
          the Messianic Jews intended tobaptize Jewish children, are
          reported to have laid siege to the place of worship rented
          by the Messianic Jews. The police apparently guarded the
          building in order to maintain order, but subsequently told
          the leaders of the congregation that they must protect the
          area themselves. A chief rabbi from Beersheba spoke on
          television and in the newspapers of his opposition to the
          messianic group and its activities. It would seem that this
          person is in fact the brother of a member of the Knesset
          who supported a draft law banning religious conversion
          (E/CN.4/1998/6). In Mea Shearim, ultra-orthodox Jews
          allegedly attacked the residence of three Swiss Christians,
          whom they accused of proselytizing. Despite the absence
          of any reply by Israel, the Special Rapporteur wishes to
          recall the responsibility of the State in the fight against
          intolerance and discrimination, in this instance in respect
          of freedom of religion.
          27. Nepal. It is alleged that, in November 1998, in
          Rukum, the police executed two Christian leaders of the
          Taka Church, whom they suspected of belonging to the
          Maoist organization waging a civil war in remote areas of
          Nepal. It would appear that the Christian community is in
          fact subjected to pressure by Maoists hostile to their
          religious practices, by the police, who execute Christians
          suspected of being Maoists, and by Hindu militants of the
          Bharatiya Janata Party, who target Christians.
          28. Uganda. The national legislation reportedly does not
          guarantee the right to conscientious objection on grounds
          of religious belief
          29. Uzbekistan. An official of the SeventhDayAdventists
          was reportedly arrested in November 1998 on the grounds
          that his congregation was not registered and that he had
          no pastoral qualifications. He is said to have been released
          after paying $1,000 andto have left the town where he was
          arrested. In the town ofNavoi, the Seventh Day Adventists
          are reported to have built a church which the authorities
          are refusing to register.
          30. In a detailed reply dealing with the case of arrest
          summarized above, the Government of Uzbekistan
          explained that the individual in question had violated the
          legislation on religious organizations by reason of the
          activities he engaged in without the Seventh Day
          Adventists being officiallyregistered in the town of Karshi.
          It confirmed that he had been sentenced to a fine in
          accordance with the Code ofadministrative responsibility,
          and explained that he had left the town to return to his
          place of residence. It added that the Seventh Day
          Adventists were registered by the Justice Department in
          Navoi region on 13 January 1999. In that respect, the
          Government explained that any religious organization
          couldbe established on the initiative of at least 100 citizens
          aged 18 or over and permanently resident in the territory.
          For the coordination and supervision ofreligious activities,
          a central administrative body could be established by the
          Constituent Assembly of representatives of the religious
          organization registered, operating in at least eight
          territorial divisions ofUzbekistan. Areligious organization
          acquired legal status and could carry on its activities only
          after being registered by the Ministry of Justice and its
          representatives in the province. The Special Rapporteur
          wishes to draw attention to the fact that regulation of the
          exercise of worship, while being useful and very often
          necessary, must not constitute an obstacle to freedom of
          31. Pakistan. In Karachi, four men were reportedly
          murdered by Shiites in January 1999 while at prayer in a
          mosque. The police are said to have arrested members of
          the Sipah-e-Sahaba extremistgroup, who reportedly denied
          any responsibility In December 1998, a bomb is said to
          have exploded in the cathedral, injuring a worshipper. In
          addition, an Abmadi was reportedly murdered by a member
          of an anti-Abmadi organization.
          32. Peru. Following an order of May 1998 amending the
          legislation on exemption from property tax for religious
          organizations recognized by the State, a number of
          Christian congregations, particularly Evangelist ones,
          reportedly ceased their activities because of the absence of
          financial resources needed to pay taxes. In Lima, some of
          these organizations are said to have filed a complaint
          against the municipal authorities on the grounds that the
          order did not apply to the Catholic church, which was
          contrary to the constitutional principle of equality before
          the law.
          33. Syrian Arab Republic. The right to conscientious
          objection on grounds of religious belief is reportedly not
          recognized by law. The Government of the Syrian Arab
          Republic replied that there were no cases of conscientious
          objectives on grounds of religion and belief in its territory.
          The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of the
          Syrian Arab Republic for its reply, and would like to know
          whether Syrian legislation guarantees conscientious
          34. Republic of Korea. The national legislation
          reportedly does not guarantee the right to conscientious
          objection on grounds of religious belief.
          35. In its reply, the Government ofthe Republic ofKorea
          emphasized the importance it attaches to freedom of
          religion and belief, while recalling its sovereign right and
          responsibility for defence ofthe territory and maintenance
          of public order in conformity, according to its
          representatives, with the provisions of article 29 of the
          Universal Declaration of Human Rights providing for
          limitations for purposes of public order and the general
          welfare. It explained that the unique security situation of
          the Korean peninsula made the maintenance of a system
          of compulsory and universal conscription inevitable. It
          added that the introduction of an alternative form of service
          would be difficult because public opinion was sensitive to
          equity in the performance of military service.
          36. The Special Rapporteur, while understanding the
          concerns of the Government of the Republic of Korea,
          wishes to recall that the United Nations Commission on
          Human Rights, in several resolutions such as resolution
          1998/77, recognized the right of everyone to have
          conscientious objections to military service as a legitimate
          exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and
          religion as laid down in article 18 of the International
          Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and General
          CommentNo. 22(48) of the Human Rights Committee. It
          also reminded States with a system of compulsory military
          service, where such a provision has not alreadybeen made,
          of its recommendation that they provide for conscientious
          objectors various forms of alternative service which are
          compatible with the reasons for conscientious objection,
          of non-combatant or civilian character, in the public
          interest and of not punitive nature. Moreover, it should be
          pointed out pursuant to article 4 of the International
          Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, freedom of belief
          cannot be subject to limitations, on the understanding that
          it is distinct from the freedom to manifest a belief, which
          can be subject to limitations as provided for by
          international law.
          37. Sri Lanka. Two Seventh Day Adventists, including
          a pastor andpastor's son, were reportedly arrested in 1998
          and are said to have been detained since then on the basis
          of apparently unjustified suspicion of involvement in
          terrorist activities. The Special Rapporteur would like to
          receive the views and comments of the Government of Sri
          Lanka as soon as possible.
          38. Tajikistan. The national legislation reportedly does
          not guarantee the right to conscientious objection on
          grounds of religious belief.
          39. Turkmenistan. The President of the Central Asian
          Conference of Seventh Day Adventists has reportedly had
          books written by him confiscated. This congregation is said
          not to have been registered by the authorities in the town
          of Ashgabat.
          40. Yemen. The right to conscientious objection on
          grounds of religious belief is reportedly not recognized by
          B. Second series of communications
          and replies
          41. Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to apply a system
          of discrimination against women based on their own
          interpretation of Islam. Women are subjected to total
          segregation within society, such as exclusion from any
          employment and from educational institutions. Their status
          as second class citizens is said to be reflected in the
          following prohibitions: they are not allowed to drive, they
          are kept separate from men in buses, they have to be
          accompanied by a close male relative whenever they leave
          the home and whenever they visit a doctor, doctors are not
          allowed to touch wom en patients, they are requiredto wear
          the burqa.
          42. Saudi Arabia. The legislation, which is said to be
          based on religious norms, is reportedly not gender-based.
          Women are said to be discriminated against in the
          following ways: they are not allowed to drive a motor
          vehicle, they enter buses by an entrance separate from that
          for men and sit in a section different from that for men,
          they enjoy limited access to public facilities when men are
          present, they require the authorization of a close male
          relative for admission to hospital treatment and for travel
          abroad, they can study abroad only ifthey are accompanied
          by the spouse or an immediate male relative, when in
          public, they are required to observe the rules governing
          dress, in the shariah courts, testimony by a man is said to
          be equivalent to the testimony of two women, in divorce
          cases, women have to show legally specified grounds,
          something which is reportedly not required of men.
          43. Saudi Arabia askedthe Special Rapporteur to indicate
          “(1) the basis on which this allegation has been raised
          within the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the
          question ofreligious intolerance, (2) what is the connection
          between the Commission on Human Rights resolution
          1998/8 and the status of women in Saudi Arabia and (3)
          what is the relevant link which the Office of the High
          Commissioner for Human Rights deems appropriate
          between the status of women in Saudi Arabia and the term
          ‘religious intolerance”. The Special Rapporteur informed
          the Government of Saudi Arabia that the Commission on
          Human Rights, in its resolution 1999/39 entitled
          “Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of
          All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on
          Religion and Belief', urged States to take all necessary
          action to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence,
          intimidation and coercion motivated by intolerance based
          on religion or belief, with particular regard to religious
          minorities, and also including practices which violate the
          human rights of wom en and discriminate against women.
          It also stressed the need for the Special Rapporteur on
          religious intolerance to apply a gender perspective, inter
          alia through the identification of gender-specific abuses,
          in the reporting process, including in information
          collection and in recomm endations. In his lastreport to the
          Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1999/58), the
          Special Rapporteur analysedthe communications from the
          standpoint of the principles, rights and freedoms
          enunciated in the Declaration. This analysis included seven
          categories of violations, in particular violations against
          women. Non-discrimination for reasons of, inter alia, sex
          is also covered by the Universal Declaration of Human
          Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and
          Political Rights. These provisions were also included in
          resolution 1998/18 relating to the mandate of the Special
          Rapporteur. Communications sent by the Special
          Rapporteur relating to the situation of women that are
          reportedly based on religious norms cover any country and
          any religion, and not in particular the Kingdom of Saudi
          Arabia. The Special Rapporteur also askedthe Government
          of Saudi Arabia whether the allegations were correct and
          to give its views and observations concerning these
          allegations, in particular whether the alleged situation of
          women is based on religious norms.
          44. Azerbaijan. The national legislation reportedly does
          not guarantee the right to conscientious objection on
          grounds of religious belief.
          45. The Government of Azerbaijan repliedthatthe State
          Military Commissioner had no case on record of citizens
          objecting to military service on religious grounds, and that
          the Constitution andthe legislation provided for alternative
          service for conscientious objectors.
          46. Bangladesh. Despite legislation that guarantees
          freedom of religion and its manifestations, in fact foreign
          missionaries reportedly have to limit their religious
          activities, particularlythose addressed to Muslims. Where
          women are concerned, the Muslim Family Ordinance
          reportedlyplaces them in a disadvantageous position where
          divorce is concerned. In addition, despite the existence of
          legislation protecting women against arbitrary action
          where divorce is concerned, these provisions reportedly do
          not cover unregisteredtraditional marriages in rural areas.
          In December 1998, a decision by the Supreme Court
          overruling a verdict which recognized the right of a
          divorced Muslim wife to alimony from her former husband
          until she remarried or died is said to have resulted in the
          restoration of a law limiting the payment of alimony to
          only three months.
          47. Belarus. A 1995 directive by the Cabinet ofMinisters
          reportedly restricts the religious activities of foreign
          missionaries exclusivelyto institutions which invited them.
          Unregistered religious organizations are said not to be
          authorized to invite foreignreligious personnel. Moreover,
          local authorities reportedly refused requests by Seventh
          Day Adventists to rent public buildings for religious
          purposes, which it is said poses a problem in that in many
          places no private place of worship is said to be available
          to them.
          48. Brunei Darussalam. By reason of legislation
          apparentlybased on religious norms, women are reportedly
          victims of discrimination in many areas, including divorce,
          custody of children and transmission of citizenship. The
          Nationality Act is said to provide for transmission of
          citizenship solely by the father. Consequently, a Brunei
          Darussalam wom an married to a foreigner wouldbe unable
          totransmither citizenship to her children even if they were
          born in Brunei Darussalam.
          49. Bulgaria. Since 1998, the Ministry ofEducation has
          reportedly introduced an optional course on religions into
          the secondary school curriculum. It is alleged that this
          course, designed to reflect all religions, in fact pays more
          attention in the textbooks to the Bulgarian Orthodox
          Church. The Muslim community is said to have
          complained of the inadequate treatment accordedtolslam
          in the course and its textbooks.
          50. Cape Verde. In July 1998, three Seventh Day
          Adventists were reportedly arrested after being accused by
          the police of setting fire to and stealing from Catholic
          churches. Despite the apparent absence ofproof, two of the
          accused are said to be still in detention, and the third to
          have been released pending a trial that has been postponed
          several times.
          51. China. In January 1999, the Tibetan Communist
          Party Propaganda in Lhasa reportedly launched a three-
          year campaign to promote atheism in order to undermine
          the influence of Buddhism and of the Dalai Lama. In
          Beijing in April 1999, more than 10,000 members of the
          Falun Gong movement are said to have demonstrated in
          protest against the arrest of a number of their fellow
          members who opposed the ban on their leader's writings.
          The activities of Falun Gong are also reportedly banned in
          a number of towns in the north-east.
          52. Cyprus. According to various sources, the policy of
          intolerance and religious discrimination in the territories
          under the control of the Turkish army is continuing. The
          church of Panayia Chriseleousa in Katopia village is said
          to have been converted into a mosque, while the oldest
          church in the village has reportedly been stripped of its
          contents. The church of Saint Afxentios in Komi Kepir
          village has also reportedly been subjected to acts of
          vandalism, interalia theft of the frescoes.
          53. Comoros. The religious activities of Christians are
          said to be restricted when they are addressed to Muslims.
          54. Cote d'Ivoire. Muslims arereportedlydiscriminated
          against in the allocation of community radio stations.
          Whereas the Catholic community is said to have received
          official approval for four radio stations, the Muslims have
          allegedly been deprived of them in that the authorities
          made it a condition that all the Muslim associations should
          agree to share a single radio frequency An agreement of
          this kind within the Muslim community, which has a
          wealth of diverse associations but cannot be likened to a
          single, hierarchized church representedby a single official,
          is reportedly not possible. This situation, it is argued,
          prevents the establishment of Muslim radio stations. In
          November 1998, 60 Seventh Day Adventists were
          reportedly driven from their village by members of a tribe
          of the Harris faith.
          55. Djibouti. The religious activities of non-Christians
          are reportedly confined to the private sphere by reason of
          the ban on public preaching, particularly among Muslims.
          The legislationguaranteeing the same rights to women and
          to men is said to be affected by religious traditions
          attributed to Islam. Authorization by a man is reportedly
          necessary for a woman wishing to travel abroad.
          56. The Government of Djibouti rejected these
          allegations, stating that it is known as one of the most, if
          not the most, tolerant of all the Islamic States. It
          emphasized that a number of important sites in the capital
          are non-Muslim religious buildings in which believers can
          practise their faith freely. Djibouti, it said, is characterized
          by the practice of tolerance and religious freedom.
          57. United Arab Emirates. Christians are reportedly
          unable to undertake religious activities among Muslims.
          58. Finland. The duration of the alternative service for
          conscientious objectors reportedly gives the appearance of
          being punitive. The Government of Finland submitted a
          very detailed reply recalling inter alia that conscientious
          objection was legallyrecognized in 1931 andthatrequests
          for conscientious objector status are approved without any
          inquiry As to the amendm ents to the Military Service Act
          (in 1998) and the Civilian Service Act (in 1999) and
          following the reductions in the duration of certain forms
          of military service, the Government explained that
          Parliament had decided to maintain the duration of non-
          military service. The duration of that civilian service had
          been discussed in Finland. “Military service has been
          estimated to be more straining both physically and
          psychologically, the actual daily/weekly time of duty is
          longer, there are fewer financial benefits and freedom of
          movement and other aspects of personal freedom are more
          restricted. Furthermore, persons who complete military
          service are under obligation to do refresher training later.
          There is no equivalent to this for persons performing
          civilian service. Due to the different nature of the types of
          service, comparing is difficult. Finland will follow closely
          the functioning of the current system.” The Finnish
          Government also took the initiative of addressing its
          position with regard to the application of the 1981
          Declaration in the area of education. The Special
          Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government for its
          detailed, closely argued and balanced response and for the
          extremely useful information relating to education.
          59. Gab on. Notwithstanding a satisfactory situation in
          the area of freedom of religion and belief, the community
          of Jehovah's Witnesses is reportedly subject to a
          government ban which, though not applied de facto, is
          formallymaintained, weakening the community in the long
          term. Where women are concerned, some legislation,
          influenced by traditional beliefs, is said to be
          discriminatory, in particular the requirement for a woman
          wishing to travel abroad to obtain her husband's
          60. Georgia. The 1997 Alternative Service Act was
          apparently never applied or accompanied by the
          mechanisms required for its implementation. The duration
          ofthe service established by law was punitive in character.
          It was reported that the procedure for the restitution of
          religious property confiscated during the Soviet era
          continued to be fraught with serious difficulties. The
          Armenian and Catholic churches were isolated. It was
          reported that a fam ous Armenian church in Tbilisi is still
          closed. Despite a court decision calling for the restitution
          of a synagogue to the Jewish community, the building was
          allegedly still being used as a theatre by the occupants.
          Under pressure from the Georgian Orthodox Church, the
          authorities were making it difficult to secure a permit to
          build places of worship for the Protestant and Armenian
          orthodox communities.
          61. The Government of Georgia replied that its
          Constitution and Penal Code guaranteed freedom of
          religion and belief and the Governm enthad taken positive
          measures in the area of human rights. It explained, for
          instance, that no cases of torture or arbitrary arrest had
          been reported and that the authorities were doing their best
          to guarantee the right to manifest one's religion and belief
          (meetings and places of worship). It pointed out that the
          educational system provided an understanding of tolerance
          and respect for freedom of religion and belief, specifically
          through the study of hum an rights, debates and symposia.
          It acknowledged that there had been incidents in some
          parts of the country but they had been cleared up. With
          regard to the restitution of a synagogue, the Government
          explained that the occupants were demanding to be paid
          for their repair work, alleging that it was a study centre,
          that the building had been rented to a theatre company and
          not to the State and that the two existing Tbilisi
          synagogues were sufficient to accommodate the religious
          rites of the Jewish community. It stated, with regard to the
          Catholic andArmenian churches, that they had not claimed
          restitution of their property in a court of law. It pointed out
          that they had no claims against the Orthodox Church and
          that there was nothing to impede fulfilment oftheir request
          to build new churches provided it was in keeping with the
          law. Finally, it mentioned that a place of worship had been
          allocated to the Catholic Church in Tbilisi.
          62. India. The Christian community was reportedly still
          feeling uneasy. Their uneasiness was not the result of
          isolated incidents, but of a resurgence of Hindu militancy
          and the Hindu policy with respect to minorities. In order
          to broaden their electoral base and thus their impact on the
          population, militant Hindu groups were deliberately
          attacking the Christian minority and its institutions in the
          education, health and social sectors because of their
          influence on the Indians, especially those who were the
          most disadvantaged or living in remote areas of the
          country Presumablythose Hindugroups were using illegal
          methods and were accusing the Christians of trying to
          convert India to their beliefs. It was alleged further that
          they were conducting a hate campaign against Christians
          through the media, pamphlets and posters. The campaign
          was allegedly being financed by Hindu organizations
          abroad. Apparently, the authorities had not taken any
          definite action to remedy the situation. The chief
          perpetrators of the murder of Pastor Graham Staines and
          the rape of the nuns (see report E/CN.4/1999/58)
          reportedly had not been arrested and, shielded by that
          situation of impunity, there had been continuing attacks
          on Christians, such as the rape of two girls, the abduction
          of another and the desecration of a place of worship. The
          women andgirls of the community seemedto have become
          the chief targets of the militant Hindus. Women were
          reportedly especially affected by discriminatory acts based
          on religion or religious traditions. The “personal status”
          laws classified women as inferior. The “status laws” that
          applied to Muslims apparently entitled men to unilateral
          divorce if they so desired, but not women. The “status
          laws” that applied to Christians entitled men to seek
          divorce on grounds ofadulterywhereas wom en hadto show
          proof of special abuse and claim redress under certain
          categories of adultery only. Among Hindu women,
          although sati and the dowry were prohibited under
          customary law, those traditions were apparentlynottotally
          eradicated in some rural areas.
          63. Iran (Islamic Republic of). There was an urgent
          appeal about the arrest of 13 members of the Jewish
          community, including rabbis and religious teachers, in the
          cities of Shiraz and Ispahan. Theywere reportedly accused
          of spying for Israel and the United States, whereas the real
          reason they were arrested was that they were Jewish.
          64. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran
          replied that the suspects arrested for spying included both
          Christians and Muslims, that the investigation and the
          arrest had taken place without regard for their religious
          beliefs and were instead a matter of safeguarding national
          security A communiqué from the Jewish community was
          also transmitted stating that like every other religious
          minority, that community was well treated by the Islamic
          Republic of Iran and enjoyed the constitutional rights of
          citizenship and thatthe arrests and charges against certain
          Iranian Jews had nothing to do with their religion. Foreign
          press releases were also transmitted.
          65. Israel. The Israeli Government and the military
          administrations were said to be pursuing a policy aimed at
          forcing the Christian communities out of Jerusalem. The
          Palestinian Christians of East Jerusalem were allegedly
          being stripped of their right of residence by having their
          identity cards confiscated and very few drivers' licences
          issued to them, the purpose being to raise the prices of
          housing and encouraging the building of illegal housing
          which could then be demolished. All the Christian
          communities of Jerusalem would lose members as a result
          of the policies and practices described above. Women
          would sometimes suffer discrimination in matters of
          divorce. Rabbinical courts deliberately gave preference to
          men, for example, by allowing a husband to remarry
          notwithstanding his wife's dissent or by not penalizing a
          husband who refused to consent to a divorce despite the
          sound and well-founded reasons given by the wife.
          Similarly, some Islamic courts reportedly denied any
          request for divorce from a wife but would grant it to any
          man notwithstanding his wife's dissent.
          66. Kuwait. Despite some progress in advancing women's
          rights, women were said to be adversely affected by certain
          laws based on religious criteria. It was claimed that they
          suffered discrimination in the following respects: the
          consent of the husband was mandatory if the wife sought
          to obtain a passport; marriage between Muslim wom en and
          non-Muslim men was prohibited; and in the Islamic courts,
          the testimony of one man was equivalent to that of two
          women. Since Kuwait's reply could not be translated before
          this document was issued, it will be summ arized in the next
          report of the Special Rapporteur.
          67. Malaysia. Christians were allegedly subject to
          restrictions on all religious activities compared with
          Muslims. Despite progress in the legislation governing
          property and divorce, non-Muslim wom en reportedly
          suffered discrimination under the “personal status” laws.
          68. Maldives. Protestants are reportedly forbidden to
          practise their religion in public because the conversion of
          Muslims to another religion is allegedly prohibited. The
          conversion of Muslims is said to be punished by loss of
          69. Mauritania. Protestants are said to be subjected to
          restrictions with regard to all religious activities
          concerning Muslims.
          70. Mozambique. Despite the progress made by the
          Government, the restitution of property confiscated from
          the Catholic Church and the Muslim community in 1975
          following the attainment of independence has not been
          71. Myanmar. The authorities are reportedly pursuing
          their policy of intolerance and discrimination against
          minorities: Muslim sin the states of Arakan and Karen and
          Christians in the states of Chin and Karen. In January
          1999, the activities undertaken bythe Christian community
          of Chin to comm em orate the centenary of Christianity were
          allegedly opposed by the military by various means, such
          as prohibiting the erection of a cross on Vuichip mountain,
          arrests of clergy and the refusal to grant visas to foreign
          72. Niger The legal status of women is said to be
          unfavourable. A draft family code aimed at eradicating all
          discrimination with regard to the ownership of property
          and the custody of children in the event of divorce, as well
          as the practice of repudiation, was reportedly blocked by
          the hostility of extremist Muslim organizations. Women
          supporting this draft have allegedly been threatened by
          extremists invoking Islam.
          73. Uzbekistan. Several Jehovah'sWitnesses are said to
          have been arrested and fined or even imprisoned for
          religious activities which were illegal because their
          congregations had not been registered.
          74. Pakistan. Muslim extremists are reportedlystill using
          the blasphemy acts against the Ahm adi community These
          extremists are said to have threatened the police in order
          to make them register their complaints about blasphemy
          In Karachi, a Muslim wom an who convertedto Christianity
          was allegedly harassed by Muslim clerics and other
          Muslims. The woman's children are said to have been
          expelled from their schools because ofher conversion. The
          police were informed of these developments but allegedly
          took no action.
          75. The curriculum of secondary schools apparently
          includes mandatory Islamic instruction for Muslim
          students, who must take exam son the subject. Reportedly,
          students from non-Muslim communities are denied this
          opportunity with regard to their own religions. Students
          in non-Muslim private schools can receive religious
          instruction, but this is not officially recognized at the
          national level.
          76. SyrianArabRepublic. The Seventh Day Adventists
          are said to be requesting the restitution of their religious
          property confiscated in 1969. They would reportedly like
          to be able to resume their activities in the Syrian Arab
          77. Republic of Moldova. The legislation reportedly
          makes no provision for alternative service for conscientious
          objectors, who can allegedly be imprisoned. The authorities
          apparently refuse to register the Jehovah's Witnesses as a
          recognizedreligion, mainlybecause theyobjecttomilitary
          service. The Baptist Church, which has allegedly met with
          a similar refusal, is said to be forbidden to distribute its
          literature and to organize public meetings. The legislation
          apparently prohibits forced proselytism but is said to
          contain vague definitions. Reportedly, the local authorities,
          under pressure from the Orthodox Church, have refused
          to allow the Seventh Day Adventists to rent public
          buildings for religious activities.
          78. The Government of the Republic of Moldova states
          that its Constitutionguarantees freedom of conscience and
          worship according to the law. A law on alternative service
          was adopted in July1991. It also states that the Jehovah's
          Witnesses and the Union of Baptist Churches were
          registered on 27 July 1994 and 2 May 1995 respectively
          79. DominicanRepublic. Members ofthe national police
          must allegedly attend Catholic mass. The Catholic Church
          is said to be given preferential treatment by the
          Government, especially with regard to the granting of
          public funds for church expenditures and tax exemptions
          on imported goods.
          80. Samoa. Despite the constitutional provisions
          guaranteeing freedom of religion and worship, village
          councils in fact sometimes engage in discriminatory
          behaviour, including the expulsion of people not sharing
          the belief prevailing in the village and the destruction of
          their property.
          81. Turkmenistan. The legislation on freedom ofreligion
          and religious organizations allegedly sometimes creates
          serious difficulties for minorities in the areas of religion
          and belief With regard to the registration procedure, the
          criterion of 500 members (500 citizens who are at least 18
          years of age) is apparently applied locally and not at the
          national level. Consequently, every minority must
          reportedly have at least 500 members in each town where
          it wished to carry out its activities. Because they are not
          registered, the Jehovah's Witnesses are allegedly fined for
          holding private meetings. A Jehovah's Witness was
          reportedly sentenced to prison for expressing his
          conscientious objection to military service. Despite the
          legislation forbidding discrimination against women, the
          latter are apparently still affected by religious traditions,
          especially with regard to marriage. The religious
          authorities are said to counsel their faithful in ways
          detrimental to women.
          82. Ukraine. The duration of alternative service for
          conscientious objectors is apparently punitive in character.
          Moreover, it is said that only members of officially
          registeredreligious communities whose doctrines prohibit
          military service can perform alternative service. Christian
          communities which are not indigenous to Ukraine
          reportedly encounter difficulties. The legislation on
          freedom of conscience and religion apparently states that
          the religious activities of foreigners must be confined
          strictly withinthe framework of the host organizations and
          must be approved by the authorities which registered the
          congregations concerned. The procedures for the
          registration of religious organizations originating outside
          Ukraine were said to be delayed by the local and regional
          authorities, which allegedly impedes the acquisition of
          property The Seventh DayAdventists reportedly encounter
          difficulties in educational institutions in the case of
          examinations scheduled for the sabbath. The same problem
          apparently arises in the workplace.
          83. Yemen. Christian communities reportedly cannot
          engage in religious activities vis-à-vis Muslims. The
          correspondence of the clergy is apparently sometimes
          monitored by the authorities in order to prevent any
          proselytism. Women are allegedly affected by certain laws,
          which seem to be based on religious rules: in particular,
          a woman wishing to obtain a passport and travel abroad is
          said to need the permission of her father or husband.
          C. Late replies/failure to reply to
          conununications sent for the
          fifty-fifth session of the
          Commission on Human Rights
          84. Germany (reply to the communication contained in
          document E/CN.4/1999/58 (para. 29)). The authorities
          confirmed that the tennis player Arnaud Boetsch had lost
          a contractwith a private tennis club which had come under
          pressure from its main sponsors because ofhis membership
          in the Church of Scientology They added: “If Boetsch's
          contract ... were subject to German labor law (dependent
          working relationship), he could have challenged the club's
          decision to end his contract at court. It is not known
          whether this was the case. In any case, such a step was not
          taken by A. Boetsch who, in his later correspondence with
          the tennis club, was represented by a lawyer. “The
          authorities were unable to obtain any information about the
          Spanish musician Enrique Ugarte. With regard to the
          Berlin police director, the authorities confirmed that an
          investigation had been openedto determine whether he was
          a member of the Church of Scientology; in the meantime,
          he had not been suspended from work but had in fact been
          assigned to non-sensitive special duties. The inquiry
          having shown that he was not a member of the Church of
          Scientology, he had been reinstated in his previous field
          of work in July 1998 and had received a promotion.
          85. Bu lgaria (ibid., para. 46) provided a detailed reply
          concerning the cases and situations mentioned by the
          Special Rapporteur. The authorities confirmed that a
          workshop on Islam organized by citizens of Saudi Arabia
          in violation ofthe law had been discontinued at the express
          request of the regional mufti. According to the law on
          religious denominations, religious manifestations maybe
          organized only by, or with the consent of, officially
          registered denominations. In this case, the office of the
          chief mufti had not been informed that the workshop was
          tobe held. Moreover, the Saudi Arabian clerics had entered
          the country with tourist visas, which did not authorize
          them to carry out religious activities.
          86. The expulsion of an Austrian Jehovah's Witness
          following an earlier sanction under the Law on Foreigners
          Residing in the Republic of Bulgaria was confirmed. With
          regardto the case oftwo Bessarabian Jehovah's Witnesses,
          it was explained that an order banning them from entering
          the countryhadbeen issuedbecause their residence permits
          had expired and not because of their beliefs. During their
          appeal, the couple had been granted Bulgarian nationality
          and the order banning them from the countryhad thus been
          annulled. The authorities stated that the Directorate on
          Religious Denominations andthe ChiefProsecutor' s Office
          had not received anyinformation concerning attacks on the
          Bulgarian Church of God. The Directorate had
          nevertheless contacted the High Priest of that church, who
          according to the authorities had described the incidents as
          insignificant. The confiscation of the religious building of
          the Emmanuel Bible Centre was confirmed. This case,
          which is linked to violations of the Law on Territorial and
          Urban Development, is being prosecuted in the courts.
          Concerning the programmes hostile to the Jehovah's
          Witnesses, broadcast by a local television station, the
          authorities stated that the programmes, which contained
          accusations concerning the kidnapping of children and
          incitation to suicide, resulted from a private investigation
          conducted by a journalist and that the local leaders of the
          Jehovah's Witnesses communityhadnot complained about
          them. Nevertheless, it was stated that in order to prevent
          a possible negative campaign in the local media, the
          authorities had organized a workshop on freedom of
          religion and belief In the framework of that workshop the
          head of the Directorate had held a meeting with the
          representatives of the local private television network for
          the purpose of putting an end to the broadcasting of such
          programm es. Itwas confirmed that dem onstrations against
          Jehovah's Witnesses had taken place in Plovdiv. It was
          explained that the demonstrations had been organized by
          the Social Committee for Resistance against the Sects,
          formed by parents concerned about cases of child abuse
          committed by sects in other countries. It was emphasized
          that the demonstrations did not actually constitute a case
          of religious intolerance. Lastly, the authorities
          acknowledged that Bulgaria's human rights record, like
          that of other countries, was not perfect and that incidents
          could sometimes occur at the local level. However, it could
          notbe saidthat a climate of intolerance vis-à-visminorities
          prevailed in the media or in society as a whole. During the
          current period of transition, the Government was taking
          concerted practical measures to improve national
          legislation and practice aimed at strengthening the
          guarantees concerning freedom of religion and belief A
          law on alternative service for conscientious objectors had
          been adopted, hum an rights had been included in the
          curricula of educational institutions and a campaign had
          been conducted to raise public awareness with regard to
          those subjects.
          87. China (ibid., para. 47) stated, with regardto the case
          of Yulo Dawa Tsering, that after the latter had been
          released on parole he had worked in the mail service at the
          Hotel Hada in Lhasa. He had, moreover, been denied access
          to the Gandan Monastery and the University ofLhasa. The
          case was said to fall within the jurisdiction of the internal
          administrations of the Monastery and the University, with
          which the Government was not supposed to interfere. It
          was emphasized that Yulo Dawa Tsering enjoyed good
          living conditions, benefited from all the civil rights
          provided by the Constitution, and was not subjected to any
          repressive measures by the public security services.
          88. Egypt (ibid, para. 50). In a detailed reply, Egypt
          described its cooperation with the United Nations organs
          involved in efforts to combat terrorism in all its form sand
          manifestations, which is a global phenomenonjeopardizing
          political stability, economic development, personal
          development and the fundamental rights of persons. The
          reply recounted Egypt's efforts, consisting not only of
          action in the areas of the judiciary and of security but also
          of measures to educate and sensitize society to the
          principles of hum an rights. Mention was made of the fact
          that Egypt had been awarded the UNESCO Prize for
          Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service
          of Tolerance. It was explained thatguidelines hadbeen laid
          down by the Ministry of Public Worship to ensure that
          serm ons reflected the principles of religious tolerance and
          that places of worship resumed their traditional role of
          places for the teaching of morality, good example and the
          principles of solidarity, mercy and fraternity, with the goal
          of positive interaction with society. In addition, several
          ministries were responsible for the modernization of the
          centres providing refresher courses, sensitization and
          training, in order to prepare the integration of adolescents
          in society and to ensure that they do not become involved
          in destructive situations. Lastly, it was explained that
          combating terrorism required a constant effort to improve
          the quality of life, to develop employment opportunities
          and to eliminate the phenomenon of economic, political
          and cultural marginalization.
          89. India (ibid., para. 61). Indiaprovidedaverydetailed
          reply on incidents of violence against the Christian
          minority. Reference was made to Indian secularism as the
          foundation of the Constitution and political system, to
          religious, ethnic and linguistic pluralism, to the
          constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and
          minority rights and to the existence of a National
          Commission on Minorities. Information was then given on
          incidents affecting Christians. The following cases were
          summarized by the Special Rapporteur. In the case of
          Graham Staines, it was stated that 50 suspects had been
          arrested and that others were being sought, that an
          investigation was under way and that the incidenthad been
          condemnedbythePresidentandthePrimeMinister. Itwas
          recalled that, following a ministerial visit to the scene, a
          detailed report had been transmitted to the Government
          and a commission of inquiryhad been appointed which was
          to report within a period of two months. The National
          Human Rights Commission was also following the case.
          Concerning the case ofthe nuns who had been raped, it was
          stated that Christian and Hindu suspects had been arrested
          and that others were being sought, and that the case
          concerned a criminal action by inebriated persons rather
          than a communal crime. Concerning the attacks against
          members of the Assembly of the Church of Believers
          during a prayer session, itwas explainedthattheyhad been
          perpetrated by anti-social elements alleging that the
          organization was engaged in religious conversion. It was
          added that conciliation efforts had been initiated
          immediately, that efforts were being made to bring the
          culprits tojustice and that the religious meetings had been
          able to resume. Concerning incidents between Christians
          and Hindus in the state of Gujarat, it was reported that
          these incidents had followed stone-throwing by young
          Christians reacting to provocative slogans chanted by
          Hindus participating in a rally. The authorities had made
          arrests and deployed security officers, and Peace
          Committees comprising members of all communities had
          been set up. Compensation had been paid for damaged
          property Lastly, the Central Government has sent a
          mission to investigate on site.
          90. Iran (Islamic Republic of). Mr. Jamal Hajipour and
          Mansour Mihrabi were arrested on charges of spying for
          foreign countries and acting against national security In
          conformity with due process of law, they were tried by a
          competent court in Birjand. The court found them guilty
          of charges and in accordance with articles 498, 499, 508
          and 510 of the penal code sentenced them to two years'
          imprisonment. The verdict was confirmed by branch 8 of
          the Khorassan court of appeal. Later, after serving half of
          their term,they requested clemency and conditional release
          which was approved by the court of appeal of Khorassan.
          Consequently, Mr. Jamal Hajipur was released on
          23August 1998 andMr. MansurMihrabiwasreleasedon
          24 August 1998.
          91. Mr. DaryoushFaez was attained on charges of active
          participation in an illegal institution. He was later released
          to parole in February 1999. Allegation of confiscation of
          his properties is categorically unfounded. The lawsuits
          against Messrs. Soheil Golkar, Enayat Mazlomi and
          Rezvan Ashrafwere referred to the office of the Prosecutor
          and resulted in “writ of stay”. There are no legal records
          for Messrs. Riaz Eighanian, Kamran Mortezaei, Hootan
          Kasivi, Foad Sanaei, Rezvan Tavakoli, Rabi (Zabih) Fakhr
          Toosi, Misaq Laqaei, Khairollah Bakhshi, Aref Aqdasi
          (Aqdami), Naeim Khazeei, Mafkhari and Mrs. Faranak
          92. Messrs. Abbas Koohbour, Peyman Ghadami,
          Ghodratollah Rafiei, Arash Kousary and Kambiz Moradi
          were detained on charges of conducting illegal activities
          on 29 September 1998 in Kermanshah Province and were
          subsequently released in less than 24 hours.
          93. Malaysia (ibid., para. 72). Malaysia stated that eight
          persons hadbeen detained not for having professed Shiism
          as the faith of their choice but because of their activities
          to spread Shiism, described by Malaysia as “a sect of Islam
          that is deviant to the mainstream of Islam in Malaysia”. It
          was emphasized that these activities undermined the
          religious harmony in Malaysia and could have led to
          animosity among the Malaysian Muslims professing the
          Sunni faith. Concerning the conversion of a Muslim
          woman to Christianity, it was said that no threats had been
          made against her or her family and that the family had not
          lodged any complaint.
          94. Sudan(ibid.,para. 96). The authorities statedthatthe
          Khartoum Catholic Club had been closed on purely
          technical grounds connected with the city development
          project. It was added that the authorities were ready to
          allocate new locations for such establishments.
          95. The Special Rapporteur has still not received replies
          to the communications sent in connection with the report
          to the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on Human
          Rights from the following 20 States: Albania, Angola,
          Cyprus, Democratic People'sRepublic of Korea, Georgia,
          Ghana, India (communication concerning women), Iraq,
          Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mali, Mauritania, Pakistan, Republic
          of Moldova, Russian Federation, Spain, Sudan
          (communication concerning the disappearance of a
          convert), Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Yemen.
          D. Late reply/absence of reply to the
          communications transmitted for the
          fifty-fourth session of the
          Commission on Human Rights
          96. Mozambique (see E/CN.4/1998/6). Mozambique
          explained that a dispute had arisen concerning the
          organization Arco Iris Ministries, which had been
          organizing religious activities during class hours.
          Following a procedure for settlement of this matter by the
          authorities and the head of the centre, Arco Iris Ministries
          hadbeen informed that non-compulsoryreligious activities
          could take place during non-teaching time.
          97. The analysis of the communications concerning the
          1981 Declaration coversthe violations identified in earlier
          reports violations of the principles of non-
          discrimination and tolerance in the areas of religion and
          belief, of freedom of thought, conscience and religion and
          belief, of freedom to express one's religion or belief, of
          freedom to dispose of religious property, of the rightto life,
          physical integrity and health, and women's rights. The
          Special Rapporteur believes that it would even be
          appropriate to distinguish between threats to minorities in
          the area of religion and of belief Because of the page limit
          for reports, the Special Rapporteur decided to make a
          detailed analysis within the framework of his conclusions.
          II I. Follow-up of the Special
          Rapporteur' s initiatives concerning
          the identification of legislation and
          the preparation of studies on the
          subject of tolerance and
          non-discrimination based on religion
          and belief and the creation of a
          culture of tolerance
          A. Legislation and studies
          98. In the area of legislation, as statedinhis latestreport
          submitted to the Commission on Human Rights
          (E/CN.4/1999/58), the Special Rapporteur wishes to
          compile a compendium of national enactments relating to
          freedom ofreligion and belief Such a collection, regularly
          updated and available to all in a data bank at an Internet
          site, would be useful, on the one hand, to
          intergovernmental organizations (such as UNESCO and
          OSCE), States and non-governm ental organizations
          engaged in activities with a direct or indirect link to
          freedom of religion or belief and, on the other hand and in
          particular, to the United Nations human rights bodies
          (Commission on Human Rights, Subcommission for the
          Promotion and Protection of Hum an Rights, treaty bodies
          such as the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on
          Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee on
          the Rights of the Child, the Committee on the Elimination
          of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the
          Elimination of Racial Discrimination) and the special
          procedures, such as the mandate ofthe Special Rapporteur
          on Religious Intolerance relating to his activities to
          examine allegations, prepare in situ visits and their follow-
          up, research, studies and advice.
          99. To date atotal of49 States have repliedto the Special
          Rapporteur's requests to provide the text of the
          constitutions in force or any other text equivalent to a
          constitution, as well as the text of legislation and
          regulations concerning religious freedom and public
          worship: Algeria, Arm enia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh,
          Bolivia, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, Cuba, Cyprus,
          Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, DominicanRepublic,
          Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, former Yugoslav
          Republic of Macedonia, France, Indonesia, Israel, Italy,
          Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia,
          Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, San
          Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Spain, Sudan,
          Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey,
          United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
          Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Yugoslavia. It would
          be highly desirable for all States to cooperate not only by
          sending the requested texts but also by updating the
          documents already transmitted.
          100. As far as studies are concerned, the Special
          Rapporteur reiterates his recommendation that research
          shouldbe conducted, withinthe framework ofhis mandate,
          to improve understanding of situations and complex and
          sensitive phenomena, on the following topics: (a) status of
          women with regard to religion and human rights; (b)
          proselytism, freedom of religion andpoverty; and(c) sects,
          new religious movements and communities of religion and
          belief and human rights.
          B. Culture of tolenince
          101. As explained in earlier reports, as regards
          discrimination and intolerance based on religion or belief,
          and in fact as regards all violations of human rights,
          prevention is the top priority andurgentneed. Intervention,
          often ex post facto, in cases and situations constituting
          violations, cannot continue without attention to the
          underlying causes and attempts to avertthem. This concern
          was shared by the Commission on Human Rights which,
          in its resolution 1994/18, encouraged the Special
          Rapporteur on religious intolerance to examine the
          contribution that education can make to the more effective
          promotion of religious tolerance. This interest was
          reiterated each year by the General Assembly. This year,
          in its resolution 1999/39 on the mandate of the Special
          Rapporteur, the Commission encouraged States to prom ote
          and encourage in particular through education
          understanding, tolerance and respect in areas relating to
          freedom of religion or belief In its resolution 1999/82
          entitled “Defamation of religions”, addressed in particular
          to the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance, the
          Commission stressed “the importance of creating
          conditions to foster greater harmony and tolerance within
          and among societies and the importance of education in
          ensuring tolerance of and respect for religion and belief'.
          102. Believing that school is an essential factor in the
          transmission of values geared to human rights and
          therefore in the emergence of a culture of tolerance and
          non-discrimination as regards religion or belief, the
          Special Rapporteur initiated an inquiry in 1994, through
          a questionnaire addressed to States, on the problems
          relating to freedom of religion and belief seen through
          curricula and textbooks at institutions of primary or basic
          and secondary education. Seventy-seven States replied to
          this questionnaire and this should make it possible to
          formulate an international education strategyto combat all
          forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion
          andbelief Because of the lack ofresources allocated to this
          mandate, the analysis of the replies was delayed and has
          not been completed. For this reason, the Special
          Rapporteur this year formulated a plan to finalize this
          activitybyNovember 2001, the anniversary of the adoption
          of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of
          Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion or
          Belief Initially, this plan provides for completion of the
          study of the replies to the above-mentioned questionnaire
          and for the formulation of a “prelim inaryset of conclusions
          and recommendations”. In a second phase, an international
          consultative conference would be prepared and held in
          November 2001 on the content of curricula and textbooks
          at institutions of primary or basic and secondary education
          relating to freedom of religion and belief This conference
          will examine the results of the questionnaire and will
          propose an international education strategy to combat all
          forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion
          or belief, by formulating a joint basic programme of
          tolerance and non-discrimination which canbe transmitted
          to the relevant United Nations organs in the form of a
          declaration. The finalization of the plan and its
          implementation will necessarilyrequire the cooperation of
          all the intergovernmental organizations, human rights
          bodies in the UnitedNations system andnongovernm ental
          IV. Initiatives of the Commission on
          Human Rights, States and
          non-governmental organizations
          A. Commission on Human Rights
          103. This year, the Commission on Human Rights took
          two initiatives concerning the mandate of the Special
          Rapporteur: firstly, as regards the World Conference
          against Racism and, secondly, as regards the question of
          defamation of religions.
          104. As regards the World Conference against Racism,
          paragraph 63 (c) of resolution 1999/78 entitled “Racism,
          racial discrimination, xenophobia andrelated intolerance”
          requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to
          invite the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance to
          participate actively in the preparatory process and in the
          World Conference by initiating studies on action to combat
          incitement to hatred and religious intolerance. Paragraph
          7 of resolution 1999/39 entitled “Implementation of the
          Declaration on the Elimination ofAll Forms of lntolerance
          and ofDiscrim ination Based on Religion or Belief' invites
          the Special Rapporteur to contribute effectively to the
          preparatory process for the World Conference to be held
          in 2001 by forwarding to the High Commissioner his
          recommendations on religious intolerance which have a
          bearing on the World Conference”. It should also be noted
          thatresolution 1999/82 entitled “Defamation ofreligions”
          expresses concern at any role in which the print, audio-
          visual or electronic media or any other means is used to
          incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance
          and discrimination towards Islam and any other religion
          and called upon the Special Rapporteurs on religious
          intolerance and on racism, racial discrimination,
          xenophobia andrelated intolerance to take into account the
          provisions of the resolution when reporting to the
          Commission on Human Rights.
          105. In accordance with the resolutions summarized
          above, the Special Rapporteur has already recommended
          the following studies:
          Image of religious minorities in the media
          106. As explained by the Special Rapporteur, in several
          mission reports (GermanyE/CN.4/1998/6/Add.2; United
          States of Am ericaE/CN. 4/1999/58/Add. 1), the media, and
          in particular the popular press, all too often portrays
          matters relating to religion and belief in particular
          religious minorities, in a grotesque, not to say totally
          distorted and harmful light. The Special Rapporteur has
          recommended starting a campaign to develop awareness
          among the media on the need to publish information that
          respects the principles oftolerance andnon-discrimination.
          These measureswould alsomake itpossible to educate and
          shape public opinion in accordance with these principles.
          The study would therefore identify the role of the media in
          hatred and religious intolerance vis-à-vis religious
          minorities, their responsibilities and would recomm end
          preventive measures, including action to be taken under
          the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
          advisory services programme.
          Intolerance against ethno-religious
          communities: identification and measures
          107. The study would identify main factors of intolerance
          against ethno-religious communities, its manifestations
          and would recommend measures to combat and prevent
          108. The Special Rapporteur is also encouraging research
          on ways in which intolerance and discrimination based on
          religion or belief impact racial discrimination. In this
          connection, the recommendation of the representative of
          the Holy See, made during the preparatory process to the
          Conference against Racism, isverysound: “There is aneed
          to go deeper than historical, cultural, political or social
          contexts and to identify and understand the spiritual and
          moral dimensions which underlay the universal human
          condition and in particular those aspects of it leading to
          abuses of racial discrimination.”
          109. The Special Rapporteur of course wishes the
          necessary resources to be made available to him for the
          preparation of these studies.
          110. As regards defamation ofreligions, the Commission
          on Human Rights adopted resolution 1999/82 entitled
          “Defamation of religions” (see above, paras. 104 and 107),
          in which it expresses deep concern atnegative stereotyping
          of religions, also expresses deep concern that Islam is
          frequently and wrongly associated with human rights
          violations and with terrorism, expresses its concern at the
          role of the media and calls upon the Special Rapporteur on
          religious intolerance to take into account the provisions of
          the present resolution when reporting to the Commission
          on Human Rights.
          111. The Special Rapporteur shares the Commission's
          concern about any threat to religions through defamation.
          As the Commission very rightly pointed out, all religions
          are or maybe affected by this violation. For this reason, as
          shown in the Special Rapporteur's mission reports
          [ Pakistan (E/CN.4/1996/95/Add.1) and Sudan
          (A/51/542/Add.2)] and in the information obtained from
          States regarding their legislation concerning freedom of
          religion and belief (para. 101 above), most States have
          incorporated provisions to punish defamation (for example,
          blasphemy) in their legal, constitutional, legislative and
          penal systems, on the understanding that there must be a
          precise definition of this offence, a specific legal system
          and an appropriate system of proof.
          112. This concern was also expressed in
          intergovernmental regional organizations. For example,
          in its recommendation 1996(1999) entitled “Religion and
          democracy”, the Council of Europe stated: “Manyconflicts
          also arise from mutual ignorance, the resulting stereotypes
          and, ultimately, rejection. In a democratic system,
          politicians have a duty to prevent a whole religion from
          being associated with actions carried out for instance by
          fanatical religious minorities.” Similarly, OSCE, at its
          Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting: Freedom of
          Religion (Vienna, 22 March 1999) identified in its
          annotated agenda, in the part entitled “Religious pluralism
          and limitations on freedom of religion”: “Problems
          encountered by new and minority religions, for example
          actions that create harmful stereotypes and promote
          prejudice against religious minorities”.
          113. The Special Rapporteur has also found that religious,
          particularly Muslim, minorities were the butt of prejudice
          and stereotyping. This finding therefore echoes
          paragraph 2 of resolution 1999/82. In this connection, and
          in accordance with paragraph 3 of that resolution, the
          Special Rapporteur has described in his mission reports on
          Australia (E/CN.4/1 998/6/Add. 1), Germany
          (E/CN.4/1998/6/Add.2) and the United States
          (E/CN.4/1999/58/Add.1) the association of Islam with
          religious extremism and terrorism found in the media and
          particularly in the popular press. Recommendations have
          been made on this subject (see mission reports and para.
          102 above).
          114. The Special Rapporteur naturally acknowledges the
          danger represented by the extremism of groups claiming
          allegiance to Islam. However, it is important to distinguish
          between such extremists using Islam for political purposes,
          who are in fact in the minority, and the majority of
          Muslims practising Islam in accordance with the principles
          of tolerance and non-discrimination.
          115. The Special Rapporteur has also found that non-
          Muslim religious minorities were victims of defamation,
          as shown in his reports on missions to Pakistan and to the
          United States.
          116. The Special Rapporteur believes that it is important
          to indicate that defamation and stereotyping may stem from
          intolerance and/or inter-religious and also intra-religious
          ignorance but that they usually exist in the context of an
          adversarial relationship between majority and minorities.
          117. Lastly, it should be emphasized that there are
          growing problems between traditional majority religions
          and sects/new religious movements but also between
          believers and non-believers.
          118. The Special Rapporteur alsowishesto stress another
          concern relating to efforts to combat defamation: these
          should not be used to censure all inter-religious and intra-
          religious criticism or even as am cans of repression against
          minorities in the area of religion and belief For example,
          the legislation on blasphemy in Pakistan is used,
          principally by extremists, in order to repress the Ahmadi
          andChristian minorities. Bythis legislation, the State also
          forbids Ahmadis to claim allegiance to lslam (see mission
          report on Pakistan and communications on Pakistan in the
          general reports). Several other communications from the
          Special Rapporteur, particularly the one on Bangladesh
          concerning Taslima Nasreen, illustrate the danger that
          efforts to combat defamation (particularlyblasphemy) may
          be manipulated for purposes contrary to human rights.
          119. Mindful of the concerns which have been expressed
          bythe Commission on Hum an Rights andwhich he him self
          has voiced, the Special Rapporteur will continue to devote
          special attention to the question of defamation and to
          formulate recommendations.
          B. Initiatives by States and
          non- governmental organizations
          120. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank Norway and
          the Holy See for the voluntary contributions made for the
          fulfilment of his mandate.
          121. He welcomes the fact that a number of States are
          taking the initiative of transmitting to him information
          relevant to his mandate, particularly Belgium and Egypt
          this year.
          122. The Special Rapporteur also thanks non-
          governm ental organizations for their initiatives, including
          the organization of conferences on subjects related to
          freedom of religion and belief, sending of books and all
          other relevant documentation and sharing oftheir expertise
          in specific areas.
          V. In situ visits and follow-up
          123. In accordance with the resolutions ofthe Commission
          on Hum an Rights and of the General Assembly, the Special
          Rapporteur continued his efforts with respect to in situ
          visits. Two reports issued in 1999 dealt with visits made
          to the United States ofAmerica and VietNam during 1998;
          thus, the Special Rapporteur has carried out 10 missions
          since his appointment (see table 1 below). He plans to visit
          Turkey in December 1999. Unfortunately, as shown by
          table 2, the Governments of four States (Indonesia, Israel,
          Mauritius and the Russian Federation) which the Special
          Rapporteur has requested permission to visit (in some
          cases, as long ago as 1996) still have not replied. The
          Special Rapporteur has reminded these States of the need
          for cooperation, as stressed in Commission on Human
          Rights resolution 1999/39, paragraph 9, which “calls upon
          all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special
          Rapporteur on religious intolerance, to respond favourably
          to requests from the Special Rapporteur to visit their
          countries and to give serious consideration to inviting the
          Special Rapporteur to visit so as to enable him to fulfil his
          mandate even more effectively”. In 1999, he addressed
          requests for in situ visits to Argentina, Bangladesh and the
          Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
          124. In addition to his requests for permission to make in
          situ visits and to conduct them in the field, the Special
          Rapporteur has continuedhis mission follow-up procedure,
          established in 1996, in order to elicitcomments from States
          and information concerning measures planned or taken on
          the basis of the recommendations made in the mission
          reports. As seen in table 3, follow-up tables were sent to
          Australia andGermanyin 1999; noreplyhasbeenreceived
          to date. Furthermore, it should be noted that Viet Nam
          submitted a preliminary reply (E/CN.4/1999/156) to the
          SpecialRapporteur'smission reporttothe Commission on
          Human Rights at its most recent session. While awaiting
          the more detailed reply which the Government has
          promised to submit, the Special Rapporteur will soon send
          follow-up tables to both Viet Nam and the United States
          Table 1
          Country Per iod
          China November 1994
          E/CN.4/1995/9 1
          Pakistan June 1995
          E/CN.4/ 1996/95/Add.l
          Iran (Islamic December 1995
          Republic 00
          Greece June 1996
          Sudan September 1996
          India December 1996
          E/CN.4/ 1997/9 1/Add.l
          Australia February-March 1997
          E/CN.4/1998/6/Add. 1
          Germany September 1997
          E/CN.4/ 1998/6/Add.2
          United States January-February 1998
          of America
          Viet Nam October 1998
          E/CN.4/ 1999/58/Add.2
          Table 2
          Country Date of request
          Rem inders
          Indonesia 1996
          Mauritius 1996
          Israel 1997
          Russian Federation 1998
          Argentina 1999
          Bangladesh 1999
          Democratic People's 1999
          Republic of Korea
          125. The Special Rapporteur considers in situ visits and
          follow-up to be one of the best means of gathering
          information on the situation prevailing in a State and on
          how far it has progressed in ensuring freedom of religion
          and belief at the legal, political and de facto levels and
          within the framework of a balanced examination of gains
          and deficiencies withregardtothe 1981 Declaration. They
          constitute an impartial, objective instrument for an analysis
          that will benefit the Special Rapporteur, the State to which
          the visit was made and all parties concerned, namely,
          non-governm ental organizations (NGOs) and individuals,
          and especially victims, involving each of them in this
          process of dialogue, exchange and mutual assistance.
          Table 3
          Date of subm issionof
          follow-up table
          Rep ly
          1996; A151/542
          1996; A151/542
          1996; A151/542
          1997; A152/477/Add.l
          Republic 00
          1996; A151/542
          No reply
          1997; A152/477/Add. 1
          1997; E/CN.4/1998/6
          1997; A152/477/Add. 1
          1997; A152/477/Add. 1
          1997; A152/477/Add.l
          1998; A153/279
          1998; E/CN.4/1999/58
          Reply not yet received
          1998; E/CN.4/1999/58
          Reply not yet received
          126. This year, the Special Rapporteur decided that in
          addition to his “traditional” visits, he would visitthe major
          religious communities in order to establish a direct
          dialogue on the subject of the 1981 Declaration and on all
          issues relating to freedom of religion or belief and to
          consider solutions to whatever problems of intolerance and
          discriminationmight arise. In September1999, the Special
          Rapporteur will visit the Holy See.
          127. The SpecialRapporteuralsodecidedtovisitthemain
          intergovernmental institutions working directly or
          indirectly in the area of tolerance and of discrimination
          based on religion or belief Accordingly, he visited the
          headquarters ofthe UnitedNations Educational, Scientific
          and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999 and decided
          to strengthen his cooperation with that agency. He also
          plans to visit the Organization for Security and
          Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to discuss arrangements
          for mutual cooperation.
          VI. Conclusions and recommendations
          128. A study ofthe communications sent in the context of
          this report and ofthe Special Rapporteur' s mission reports
          for 1999 reveals several general trends: an increase in
          religious extremism, the continued existence of policies
          adversely affecting freedom of religion and belief and the
          persistence of discrimination againstwomen. The Special
          Rapporteur has tried to trace the development of each of
          these trends.
          A. Religious extremism
          129. As in his previous reports, the Special Rapporteur
          notes the persistence of various types and degrees of
          Islamic extremism (particularly in Afghanistan,
          Bangladesh, Indonesia, Niger and Pakistan). However, it
          is evident that this phenomenon has spread to other
          religions, as seen by the rise in Hindu extremism directed
          against Christian and Muslim communities and,
          potentially, against religious minorities in India and even
          in Nepal. The Muslim extremism which broke out in
          Indonesia has also, in some cases, led to violent counter-
          attacks by Christian extremists. Judaism may also be
          subjected to distortion in Israel by Jewish extremists. Thus,
          no religion is free from extremism: it may be inter-
          religious (directed against religious communities of
          different faiths), intra-religious (within the same religion
          and, in particular, between different sects) or even both at
          once. The most striking example is that of the Taliban,
          who, in the name of religion, are persecuting not onlynon-
          Muslim minorities, but alsoMuslims: both Afghan Muslim
          minorities (i.e., the Shiites) and the Muslim majority
          subject to the Taliban's diktat. The most common victims
          of the various types of extremism are:
          (a) Minorities (both the followers of other religions
          and different groups within the same religion) are usually
          the preferred targets of extremists (in, for example,
          Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Israel, Niger andPakistan);
          of course, this does not preclude potential or actual
          persecution of the majority;
          (b) Women are also a prime target of extremists,
          whether through discriminatory measures that place them
          in an inferior position and even (in the case of
          Afghanistan) deprive them of all rights; or, with increasing
          frequency, through violence in the form of assault,
          attempted murder, murder, abduction and, in many cases,
          rape. Violence against women appears to be extremists'
          instrument of choice as a means of terrorizing whole
          communities through, inter cilia, attacks on women's
          dignity and on the “honour” of the entire community
          130. In addition, extremism is often practisedbynon-State
          entities. These maybe groups acting out of pure fanaticism
          associated with ignorance or obscurantism or extremist
          religious groups with a deliberate plan to impose their
          religious interpretation on the whole of society. In most
          cases, however, they are extremist “professionals” who use
          religion for political purposes in other words, in order
          to seize power. However, it must be acknowledged that
          these non-State entities do not operate in a vacuum and
          that in almost every case, they continue to exist and to
          grow with the tacit but known support of Governments,
          including foreign Governments.
          131. Lastly, religious extremism should be viewed in the
          larger context of the economic, social and political
          conditions that foster it. At the national and international
          levels, unjusteconomic, social andpolitical systemswhich
          really constitute violations of economic, social, cultural,
          civil and political rights contribute to the birth and/or
          nurturing of extremism.
          B. Policies adversely affecting freedom of
          religion and belief
          132. The Special Rapporteur notes the persistence of such
          policies and considers that the following developments at
          the national level need to be recognized:
          (a) State policies against religion and policies
          designed to control religious matters in the name of a
          political ideology have continued to decline since the end
          of the cold war; although they do persist in some countries
          (China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Viet
          Nam), but in more subtle forms. Officially and publicly,
          at least, it is no longer a question of eliminating religions
          originallyperceived as superstitions or as “the opium ofthe
          people”, but rather of recognizing them and permitting
          their practice, but under the strict control ofthe authorities.
          In the circumstances, this constitutes interference with
          religion that is incompatible with international law. In
          most cases, such interference takes the form of compelling
          the clergy and believers to limit their activities to
          officially-recognized, State-controlled religious groups,
          places ofworship and religious institutions. These policies
          include, on the one hand, those of States (such as China
          and Viet Nam) where the limited opportunity for freedom
          of religion, although it should be expanded in accordance
          with international law, nevertheless constitutes progress;
          and, on the other, that of a State (Democratic People's
          Republic of Korea) which uses a semblance of religion for
          propaganda purposes abroad;
          (b) Authoritarian regimes continue to implement
          policies of intolerance and discrimination against
          communities perceived as “the enemy”, as “a threat” or as
          inconsistent with the Government's programme;
          (c) Conflicts of a primarily political nature
          continue to result in policies and practices of intolerance
          and discrimination against certain ethnic and religious
          groups (i.e. the Israeli Government's policy with respect
          to non-Jewish groups in Jerusalem and the Chinese
          Government's policy in the Tibet Autonomous Region of
          (d) States which have an official religion or where
          most of the population belong to the same religion tend to
          implement discriminatory policies and measures (such as
          restrictions on religious activities and the manifestations
          thereof) against religious minorities, including Muslims
          in many Western, and some African, countries and non-
          Muslims in several Asian and African countries;
          (e) Agrowing problem comm on to alm ost all States
          isthatthepolicies andmeasuresimplementedwithrespect
          to sects or new religious movements often involve
          numerous human rights violations, including refusal to
          recognize them as religious communities; refusal to allow
          them to register; barring the members from places of
          worship; failure to recognize certain of their tenets, such
          as conscientious objection; and, in some cases, even arrest,
          detention and other punishments. Many of the
          communications received by the Special Rapporteur
          involve the countries of Eastern Europe, where large
          numbers of such groups have emerged since the end of the
          cold war and are in direct competition with the so-called
          “traditional” religions which hope to resume the role that
          theyplayed prior to the establishment of the socialist bloc,
          not only in society but also in the Government. However,
          this is also a problem in Western Europe, where several
          parliamentary commissions of enquiry have been
          established. On the other continents, Governments
          sometimes react with extreme severity. For example, in
          Pakistan, the Ahmadis claim to be Muslims but are
          considered a sect by the authorities, which categorically
          reject this claim and punish them severely, whereas in
          China, members of the Falun Gong have been arrested.
          C. Discrimination attributed to religion and
          affecting women
          133. In the context ofthe communications transmittedby
          the Special Rapporteur, such discrimination relates to
          legislation, civil status texts and their interpretation,
          tradition, intolerance often through ignorance on the part
          of society, and so-called religious extremism.
          134. As regards legislation, most of the discrimination
          derives from the requirement that women receive the
          authorization of men to obtain a passport and to travel
          abroad (Gabon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen). In Saudi
          Arabia, such freedom ofmovement appears to be restricted,
          even non-existent, given that a woman going abroad to
          study has to be accompanied by a family member, that
          wom en are prohibited from driving motor vehicles and that
          access to buses and public facilities is subject to
          segregation. Legislation may also discriminate in favour
          of men in divorce proceedings (Bangladesh, Brunei
          Darussalam), custody of children (Brunei Darussalam) and
          testimony, the evidence of one man being equivalentto that
          oftwowomen (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia). In Kuwait a Muslim
          woman would not be allowed to marry a non-Muslim.
          Lastly, legislation may require that women be dressed in
          a certain way The most manifest and insidious case in
          which women are deprived totally of their rights results
          from legislation which recognizes the transmission of
          citizenship to children only through the male line.
          135. The interpretation by the courts of civil status texts
          relating principally to the family (marriage, divorce, etc.)
          also appears to affect women in many instances by placing
          them in an unfavourable situation, whether they are
          Muslim (India, Israel, Kuwait), non-Muslim, Jewish
          (Israel) or Christian (India, Malaysia).
          136. Traditions attributable to religion are very often an
          obstacle to the implementation of legislation that treats
          women more fairly. Accordingly, in India the legally
          prohibited suttee and dowry traditions persist in some rural
          areas. In Djibouti the prior consent ofa man for any travel
          abroad by a woman appears to be maintained by tradition,
          while in Turkmenistan the religious authorities seem to
          invoke tradition in order to instil in their followers an
          archaic perception of women.
          137. Society can be a source of intolerance principally
          because, through ignorance or obscurantism, certain
          discriminatory attitudes towards women are associated with
          religious precepts. In Pakistan, for example, awomanwho
          has converted to Christianity may find herself ostracized
          and rejected by society.
          138. Women are the prime target of the evil known as
          religious extremism. The State's responsibilityto eradicate
          violations in this field is established in international law
          and must be fully exercised.
          139. To sum up, despite some limited progress in matters
          of freedom of religion and belief, especially since the end
          of the cold war, the Special Rapporteur finds not only that
          manifestations of intolerance and discrimination based on
          religion and belief persistbut also that religious extremism
          is on the rise. Apart from society in general, persons
          particularly affected are women and those professing a
          minority religion or belief
          140. The Special Rapporteur believes, that in order to deal
          with the above situation, it is essential to focus on
          prevention, while, of course, maintaining ongoing
          measures to counter current violations.
          141. As the Special Rapporteur has stressed, preventive
          action should focus chiefly, although not exclusively, on
          education. It will be recalled that the Commission on
          Hum an Rights in resolution 1999/39 on the mandate ofthe
          Special Rapporteur urged States to prom ote and encourage,
          through education and other means, understanding,
          tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of
          religion or belief
          142. The Special Rapporteur is therefore continuing his
          project for the formulation of an international educational
          strategy to prevent all forms of intolerance and
          discrimination based on religion or belief, the matrix of
          which would be the organization in November 2001 of an
          international consultative conference on the content of
          curricula and textbooks for primary or elementary and
          secondary educational institutions with respect to freedom
          of religion and belief
          143. Prevention through education can also address the
          current evils of religious extremism and acts of
          discrimination and intolerance directed specifically at
          women and minorities.
          144. Religious extremism, it must be stressed, spares no
          society and no religion. It is a perversion of religious faith
          and an insult to the intelligence of a human being. To
          tolerate this growing phenomenon is akin to tolerating the
          intolerable. It is therefore essential that Statesjoin with the
          international community in condemning it without
          ambivalence and combating it without compromise. Such
          an effort must undoubtedly include preventive action,
          especially through education. The initiatives of Egypt in
          this regard are extrem ely noteworthy and include books on
          tolerance for children and adolescents and the
          modernization of centres for consciousness-raising,
          training and further training whose purpose is to ensure
          integration in society and hence to combat all acts of
          exclusion and erection of barriers, the favourite devices of
          extrem ism.
          145. Women's actual status from the standpoint of
          religion, or of the traditions, practices and policies based
          on or attributed to religion, represents a problem which
          must be tackled. The preparation of a plan of action
          combining both prevention, for example through education,
          and measures to combat discrimination must be initiated
          as soon as possible, including through the organization of
          a seminar on the status ofwomen from the standpoint of
          religion and human rights, as the Special Rapporteur
          suggested earlier.
          146. As regards minorities, it will be recalled that the
          Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1999/39,
          expressed its deep concern at the increase in the violence
          and discrimination againstreligious minorities, including
          restrictive legislation and arbitrary application of
          legislative and other measures. The Commission urged
          States, in conformity with international standards of
          hum an rights, to take all necessary actionto combathatred,
          intolerance and acts ofviolence, intimidation and coercion
          motivated by intolerance based on religion or belief, with
          particular regard to religious minorities. In addition to
          prevention through the elaboration of an international
          educational strategyto combat all forms of intolerance and
          discrimination based on religion or belief, which would of
          course address the question of religious minorities, the
          Special Rapporteur wishes to underline the vital role
          played by the Working Group on Minorities (of the
          Subcommission onthe Promotion and Protection of Hum an
          Rights) in the consideration of the promotion and
          observance of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons
          Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic
          Minorities, the exploration of possible solutions to
          problems affecting minorities and the formulation of
          recommendations for the adoption of new measures to
          ensure the promotion and protection of their rights. The
          Special Rapporteur might want to contact the Working
          Group in order to consider possible avenues of cooperation
          in such matters as seeking solutions for acts of
          discrimination and intolerance affecting religious
          147. Where sects or new religious movements are
          concerned, the Special Rapporteur considers that the time
          has come to initiate appropriate methods for examining
          this question calmly, without emotion and without bias, in
          such a way as to ensure that freedom of religion and belief
          is not manipulated and is permitted to serve the purpose
          which justified its legal consecration and protection, and
          to serve that purpose alone. As “sects” or “new religious
          movements” do sometimes commit abuse, the authorities
          are right to be concerned and it is their duty to take action
          to enforce the law. This duty must lead to the application
          of penal law, and even its improvement, in order to
          penalize any abuse of property or person. This does not
          mean that the State should conduct a witch-hunt which
          would breed intolerance and discrimination and would
          contravene international law. Education can also play a
          vital role in relation to such abuse. As Danièle Hervieux-
          Léger, the sociologist, stated, the best remedy is common
          sense, discernment and the inculcation of a critical spirit.
          The SpecialRapporteur reiterateshisrecommendation for
          a comprehensive study ofthe question (with the caveatthat
          “sect” and “new religious movement” both cause
          difficulties in that they lump together various situations,
          thereby resisting serious analysis).
          148. As regards all the problems discussed above
          (religious extremism, policies affecting freedom ofreligion
          and belief, discrimination attributed to religion and
          affecting women), the Special Rapporteur is of the opinion
          that religions are very often taken advantage of It is
          therefore important to promote further the role which
          religions can play in conflict prevention andresolution and
          in reconciliation. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur
          welcomes the initiative taken in July 1999 by 40
          representatives of the Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant,
          Muslim and Jewish religions to ensure the participation of
          religions in the dialogue and peace effort in the Balkans.
          In their final declaration, these religious leaders undertook
          to promote or encourage every effort to promote education,
          tolerance and social justice and to combat discrimination.
          149. Manifestations of racism, racial discrimination,
          xenophobia and intolerance may overlap with
          manifestations of intolerance and discrimination based on
          religion and conviction. As requested by the Commission
          on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur, in his
          contribution to the World Conference against Racism,
          should be able to help identify solutions designed to
          prevent and eradicate such evils.
          150. In accordance with the principle of interdependence
          of human rights, any action to promote tolerance and
          non-discrimination is intrinsically interrelated with action
          to promote democracy and development.
          151. The effectiveness of activities to combat and prevent
          every kind of violation and abuse against freedom of
          religion and belief requires the following changes.
          152. As regards the change in the title ofhis mandate, the
          Special Rapporteur is gratified that the Commission on
          Human Rights, in resolution 1999/39, noted “the request
          of the Special Rapporteur to change his title from Special
          Rapporteur on religious intolerance to Special Rapporteur
          on freedom of religion or belief' and decided “to consider,
          at its fifty-sixth session, changing the title”. The Special
          Rapporteur very much hopes that this change will be
          approved in order to lend more weight to his mandate
          while maintaining his function in relation to incidents and
          governmental measures incompatible with the 1981
          Declaration, to take account of the content of resolutions
          which concern him and to give freedom of religion and
          belief the scope it deserves.
          153. The strengthening of the human and material
          resources made available to the Special Rapporteur is
          required not only for him to discharge the many daily
          activities of the office (communications, in situ visits,
          reports, consultations with international organizations,
          States and non-governm ental organizations, participation
          in conferences, etc.) but also for the implementation of his
          recomm endations, including the preparation of studies, the
          establishment of an international compendium of
          enactments, the creation of an Internet site on the 1981
          Declaration (including legal and factual data banks on all
          States), the drafting of reports on all States and all
          religions and beliefs, together with an analysis of their
          economic, social, cultural, civil and political contexts.
          Lastly, the Special Rapporteur considers that preparations
          should be made for the twentieth anniversary of the 1981
          Declaration on 25 November 2001. It is proposed that
          States give the name of tolerance to streets, squares and
          public buildings, place artistic plaques in public places
          bearing the text of the Declaration, and include the
          Declaration in civic and religious educational curricula,
          especially at the primaryand secondary levels of education.
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Freedom of Religion