human rights

Toward a Strategy for Engaging a Resurgent Russia on Democracy, Human Rights, and Religious Liberty: Part I

By: Karrie Koesel and Christopher Marsh

The promotion of democracy, human rights, and religious liberty is a worthy cause. In Russia, however, these ideas are seen as imposed from the West, not compatible with Russian political culture, or intended to topple the current regime. Over the past several years, Russia has witnessed hundreds of victims of racism and ethno-religious violence. Our argument here is that Russia must still be held accountable for its failings in these areas. We believe that a change in Russia’s foreign policy will only occur if the political system itself returns to the democratic path it embarked upon in the early 1990s.

Like democracy, religious freedom in Russia today is in decline, but this transition has not been altogether linear.

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Is the Problem Really Religious Freedom?

By: Robert J. Joustra

This fall, the Review of Faith & International Affairs will be publishing a review of two important new books from critics of the freedom of religion or belief: Saba Mahmood and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd. My full review will be in that issue. One of the orienting questions I had reading these books was: What exactly is the problem with religious freedom? Why, of all the human rights available on the panacea of rights advocacy, has this, still relatively minor right, managed to achieve the status of a super-right worthy of such sustained criticism? 

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Religious Freedom Abroad: A Road Map of Deterioration

By: Robert P. George

By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last annual report in 2015. From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in the 2016 annual report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide. 

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Religious Freedom, Now, Everywhere? Proceed Slowly, from the Bottom.

By: Anthony Gill.

John Owen makes a strong case for caution when advocating for religious freedom in countries lacking basic human liberties. He correctly points out that sudden changes in the legal structure of a nation may often harm the individuals whom those changes seek to protect, using the case of sixteenth-century France to nicely illustrate his point. 

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Religious Freedom Now, Everywhere? Not So Fast.

By: John M. Owen

Those of us who believe in human rights, including the right to religious liberty, must grapple with the derivative question of what those rights demand of each of us. We who live in wealthy, powerful countries such as the United States might lunge toward the view that it is imperative that our country act always and everywhere so as to vindicate human rights, and hence that it is imperative that we citizens do all we can to press our country to vindicate those rights everywhere at all times. After all, these are human rights we are dealing with: claims that all persons have simply by virtue of being human—not because they live in one nation or culture or religious community rather than another.

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