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[25 November 2015] - CRIN welcomes the acceptance by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in his recent report that children possess an independent right to freedom of religion and belief.
However, we would like to highlight some areas we feel deserve more attention to ensure consistent and adequate recognition of children’s independent right to freedom of religion. These include pressing for an education which increases children’s respect for those who do not share their religion; and protecting children from violations on religious grounds, particularly in relation to apostasy and non-consensual, non-therapeutic male circumcision.
We believe fulfilment of these rights is not only important to children themselves, it is also key to achieving the aims of the Rapporteur. The roots of both religious freedom and religious intolerance unquestionably lie in childhood.
One of the goals of our organisation is to ensure that all children’s rights are adequately addressed throughout the work of the United Nations. In this vein, we would welcome an opportunity to work with the Rapporteur and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to develop a coordinated strategy on children’s rights.