Freedom of Religion or Belief, Human Rights, and Responding to Persecution

Global Primary Sources

By: Thomas K. Johnson with Thomas Schirrmacher and Christof Sauer


As all the reliable reports show, only a small percentage of the world’s population enjoys real freedom of religion. Discrimination and persecution are commonplace, and even martyrdom is far too common. And the lack of protection for the basic human right of religious freedom is very frequently connected with other human rights abuses. Torture, genocide, and ethnic cleansing often accompany religious persecution, while the lack of freedom of speech, freedom of travel, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press are such normal parts of widespread religious persecution that they are sometimes no longer mentioned. Our united concern to address the problems of discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom facing Christians should be organically tied to our proper Christian concern for human rights protections on the global level. For this reason we are providing a small selection of primary source readings about human rights and religious freedom, to be supplemented by a small selection of essays by Christian scholars that help provide a philosophical, theological, and sociological framework for thought and action regarding religious freedom and other human rights. 

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Global Primary Sources and Discussion 8

About Us

The “International Institute for Religious Freedom” (IIRF) is a network of professors, researchers, academics, specialists and university institutions from all continents which work on reliable data on the violation of religious freedom worldwide and want to implement this topic to college and university programmes and curricula, especially in the areas of law, sociology, religious studies and theological programmes. 

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