Regional Consultation on Expression, Opinion and Religious Freedoms

Jakarta, June 01, 2015: From 3-5 June 2015, Bytes for All, Pakistan, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), ICT Watch, Global Partners Digital, the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), the Internet Democracy Project, KontraS and the Open Society Foundation are organizing the Regional Consultation on Expression, Opinion and Religious Freedoms in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Asia is the world’s most populous region, with a number of development challenges, ranging from corrupt governance to socio-economic disparities. The region is also home to diverse cultures, religion and tribal customs, which have been used to create divisions, promote discrimination, oppression and severe restrictions on fundamental human rights of peoples. In the name of religion, for example, freedom of expression and other fundamental rights have been severely curtailed at different levels in many parts of the region, thus posing an emerging and major challenge to the realization of human rights in Asia.

The Regional Consultation will bring together human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and other stakeholders from all over Asia to discuss, debate, understand and identify solutions for this urgent human rights challenge, particularly on the intersection between freedoms of expression and religion. The consultation will also be participated by experts on the topic, including the respective current and former UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye and Frank La Rue. The main objective of this event include:

  • To develop an understanding regarding the direction of future advocacy of FoE in the context of religious freedoms;
  • To understand what role the internet is playing and can play in promoting freedom of expression and religious toleration online;
  • To raise awareness about Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred;
  • To engage the relevant UN Special Procedures mandate holders in the current debate over issues of Freedom of Expression and Religious Freedoms in Asia; and
  • To generate global support for the region from research think tanks, academia, donors and human rights friendly governments to help reverse the negative trends on basic freedoms.

For more information, please visit the event website accessible at: www.freedomofexpression.asia.

 

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