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CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES

Defenders of freedom of religion or belief and non-governmental organizations

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/40

17 : The Commission on Human Rights, "Welcomes and encourages the continuing efforts of non-governmental organizations and bodies and groups based on religion or belief to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and further encourages their work in promoting freedom of religion or belief and in highlighting cases of religious intolerance, discrimination and persecution;".

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Excerpts of relevant paragraphs of 20 years mandate reporting practice (1986-2006)

E/CN.4/1993/62, para . 73:

"73. The Special Rapporteur was also very pleased and grateful to note the continued cooperation extended to him by non-governmental organizations during the period under review. The detailed information they have provided has been of considerable assistance to him in carrying out his mandate. The information gathered by the Special Rapporteur attests to the continued interest on the part of the international community in problems of religious intolerance and discrimination and the genuine efforts of many Governments to restrict them. As the Special Rapporteur pointed out in his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-seventh session, "My role is not to make accusations or value judgements, but to help arrive at a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding (religious) intolerance and discrimination ... to mobilize international public opinion and to establish a dialogue with the Governments and all other parties concerned.""

A/56/253, paras . 151-156:

"Cooperation with non-governmental organizations

151. The Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize the essential role of nongovernmental organizations, which have continued their efforts, devoted initially to the elaboration and adoption of the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, to promote observance of that Declaration, making an invaluable contribution to the fulfilment of the mandate relating to freedom of religion and belief.

152. The General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights have applauded this contribution in their respective resolutions (55/97 and 2001/42), and have welcomed and encouraged the continuing efforts of non-governmental organizations and religious bodies and groups to promote the implementation of the Declaration, to foster freedom of religion and belief and to highlight cases of religious intolerance, discrimination and persecution.

153. Those non-governmental organizations, some of which represent a religion or a belief, while others have a general mandate relating to human rights or a specific mandate relating to freedom of religion or belief, play a dynamic role both as regards day-to-day information management and as regards the preparation and realization of in situ visits and the progress made in the fulfilment of the mandate.

154. Their collaboration is both institutional, through the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations at the United Nations in New York and Geneva , with regard specifically to the mandate relating to freedom of religion or belief, and informal, through ad hoc consultations.

155. The non-governmental organizations are also especially active in providing support for bolstering the human and financial resources allocated to the mandate. In August 1998, for example, the Oslo Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief was organized on the initiative of non-governmental organizations for the specific purpose of supporting the cause of freedom of religion or belief.

156. They are thus serious partners in furthering the realization of the mandate; their enriching contribution must be emphasized and welcomed."

E/CN.4/2006/5/Add.2, para . 7 (country visit to Nigeria ):

"7. The Special Rapporteur is particularly grateful for the very positive attitude that representatives of religious groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) demonstrated during the visit. In this regard, she was impressed by the level of analysis and research that is carried out by NGOs on human rights issues and, in particular, on those related to her mandate. She considers that the high quality and dynamism of Nigerian NGOs constitute an indisputable advantage, including for the Government, in the realization of the measures that will be needed to bring the country's religious communities to an acceptable level of harmony. Moreover, while she acknowledges that the analyses carried out by NGOs will help in addressing the root causes of religious tensions, she would encourage the civil society to provide the United Nations and other human rights mechanisms with more factual information on cases and situations of human rights violations."

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