This event is the first in a new series of Wilton Park events on Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) and Inclusive Citizenship, with a focus on the Middle East. It will bring together religious actors and experts to explore the link between the two agendas in the region and aims to produce new and creative policy recommendations to overcome challenges and obstacles to making progress in this area, critical for securing peace and coexistence.
The June 2022 Wilton Park conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief and the Sustainable Development Goals underscored that the lack of FORB is not only a pressing global issue affecting millions, but also a source for socioeconomic discrimination and segregation increasing inequality, resentment, and unrest.
This interlinkage between freedom of religion and belief on the one hand and social cohesion, economic opportunities, and inclusive citizenship on the other was also highlighted during the International Ministerial on FoRB hosted by the British Government on 5-6 July 2022. The Ministerial was a platform for unprecedented commitments from political and religious actors to support and promote FoRB for all and encouraged the establishment of “collective action by governments, human rights experts, civil society, academia and faith and belief actors to address FoRB challenges, exchange best practice, and build shared commitments”.
In response to this call and building on the recent progress in the field, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Adyan Foundation along with the British and Italian Embassies to the Holy See, have come together to support this Wilton Park Mediterranean initiative for a multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Inclusive Citizenship and Freedom of Religion and Belief. The dialogue aims to:
- Recognise and build on recent initiatives in promoting FoRB and Inclusive Citizenship, including the Wilton Park Dialogues on Inclusive Citizenship (2018-2021)
- Bring the two agendas of FoRB and Inclusive Citizenship together to ensure shared progress;
- Identify the areas of concern and the remaining challenges and obstacles on the legal and societal levels for the concrete implementation of this agenda, and recommend ways to overcome them;
- Foster and promote social cohesion through a shared interreligious agenda for FoRB and Inclusive Citizenship, especially in the MENA and Mediterranean areas;
- Propose creative new forms of multireligious engagement for human dignity, fraternity, and living together;
- Highlight the role of governments in supporting this path of peace and unity;
- Propose policy recommendations to advance this agenda.
Project Manager: Sue Wornell