The Politicisation of FoRB

In a climate where the regulation of religion is increasingly used as an instrument in political power struggles, the growing politicisation of FoRB as a fundamental human right can have both negative and positive effects.

At the conference described below, The Oslo Principles on Promotion of Freedom of Religion and Belief were edited and endorsed.

The project started in December 2015, when the Oslo Coalition held an international conference where many sides of the politicisation of FoRB were discussed (see report below). This conference gave rise to a working group to pursue the topic, and to arrange a new conference with a focus on how best to promote FoRB in the current climate of increasing politicisation.

The conference:“The Politicisation of Freedom of Religion or Belief for Better and Worse” was held at Lysebu in October 2016

The purpose of the conference was
- to analyse the different approaches to the context, scope and content of FoRB as revealed by a variety of international declarations,
- to examine the international instruments and tools available for the monitoring and protection of FoRB, and
- to discuss how both the challenges and possibilities arising from the politicisation of FoRB can be handled in order to strengthen the international legal framework on human rights. The programme for the conference can be downloaded here and speaker bios here.

The conference gathered national and international professional expertise on the areas spotlighted. The intention was to contribute with recommendations for the international bodies charged with the monitoring of the freedom of religion or belief at the United Nations, in particular the new Special Rapporteur, who will be appointed in June.

Following the conference there was a Forum at the Nobel Peace Center with the same title, arranged by The Nobel Peace Center, the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities (STL), and the Oslo Coalition. 

The Forum consisted of an international panel, where the newly drafted “Oslo Principles on Promotion of Freedom and Religion or Belief” were presented and discussed.

This was followed by a Norwegian panel where prominent Norwegians in the field will be invited to discuss the Norwegian case at the Forum. In Norway there is an increasing awareness of the need to develop a holistic policy on religion in response to an increasingly pluralistic society, as reflected in the discussions around the coming renewal of the Norwegian legislation on the relation between the state and the different religious communities.

Reports from the conference and forum will be published soon. In the meanwhile, the Oslo Principles can be downloaded from this website.


Lena Larsen

Working group members:

Lena Larsen

Helge Årsheim

Gina Lende

Tore Lindholm

Kari Vogt

Dag Nygård

Gunnar Stålseth

Anne Sender


Publications and Reports


Published Aug. 17, 2017 11:28 AM - Last modified Dec. 21, 2020 4:05 PM