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The Most Troubling Violation of Human Rights? Conversion, Says U.N. Report

U.N. special rapporteur: Right to conversion is "unconditionally protected under international human rights law."
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Restrictions on religious conversion have "become a human rights problem of great concern," according to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly last week, Heiner Bielefeldt said those violations need to stop. He urged states to "consistently respect, protect and promote the human right to freedom of religion or belief in the area of conversion."

Bielefeldt relayed the findings of his comprehensive report, which was distributed in August. The report analyzes "patterns of abuses that are perpetrated in the name of religious or ideological truth claims."

In his address, Bielefeldt said some religious freedom abuses were perpetrated by state agencies, but many more were the result of widespread societal prejudices against certain religions. In addition, he said the violations against women were of particular concern.

"In addition to being exposed to manifestations of social pressure, public contempt and systematic discrimination, converts ...

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January/February
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