“The call to work together is more than defending the inherent human right to freedom of religion or belief but defending and protecting our humanity”. Commonwealth MP at CIFORB’s breakfast meeting.
Discussing Freedom of Religion or Belief over breakfast is not (always) the norm, but in Berlin on Wednesday CIFORB did just that. The breakfast meeting attracted a cross-section of MPs s from every region across the Commonwealth. The meeting introduced CIFORB and enabled a lively discussion about the Commonwealth and how this network can be utilised by parliamentarians to share experiences and action, making FoRB protection more effective and robust overall. There was determination and commitment of all commonwealth parliamentarians to engage with FoRB through the network of the Commonwealth and CIFORB.
The floor was given to the parliamentarians first to narrate their own perceptions of the commonwealth, its contemporary importance and how the commonwealth might best be used to help parliamentarians approach FoRB issues through the lens of their individual country structures. The parliamentarians also discussed the complex intersection of culture and religion, human rights and institutional capacity to best address FoRB. Many crucial observations came out of these discussions, providing a rich starting point for CiFORB to collaborate with and learn from these actions and experiences.
Following these discussions, all those attending were in agreement to become part of the newly created CiFORB Network of Commonwealth Parliamentarians. This network is a unique and innovative way to share experiences and ways forward for parliamentarians to effectively address FoRB from a Commonwealth perspective. In addition, it was agreed that regional sub-groupings of commonwealth parliamentarians to discuss issues more relevant to particular groupings of commonwealth countries, would be of great benefit to the overall network established.
We would like to thank all the parliamentarians who responded to our invitation and joined us for such a vibrant exchange of ideas and experiences.
Do look out for further blog posts to follow that engage with the wider issues and research themes in FoRB and the Commonwealth that were raised within this breakfast meeting.