QUESTION OF: Empowering minority religions

SUBMITTED BY: Saudi Arabia

CO-SUBMITTERS:Arab League, Armenia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Central African Republic, Cyprus, Egypt, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Lao PDR, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, United States of America, United Kingdom.


Reaffirming that one of the aims of the United Nations (UN), as enshrined in the Charter, is to promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, without partiality towards race, sex, language, or religion, 

Observing faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,

Bearing in mind that blasphemy is any act insulting a higher power, religions, prophets, messengers, holy books, or houses of worship,

Aware of sectarianism being an excessive attachment to a specific religion, and is founded in a majority and minority dynamics (therefore inherently discriminatory),

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that stresses the importance of the freedom of religion and the empowerment of minority religions,

Further Recalling the Declaration on the elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion of Belief A/RES/36/55 that highlights the significance of eradicating any religious discrimination, 

Taking into account the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistics A/RES/47/135, 

Referring to the Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms A/71/484/Add.2,

Recognizing the potential for discrimination on various grounds within as well as between different religious or secular groups, as part of this overall picture, and the potential interactions between different forms of discrimination e.g. based on religion, gender, sexuality, etc

Realizing the threats to international peace and security 21 (S/RES/2379),

Conscious that religious minorities have the right  to express their distinct identity, and the right to choose to be or not to be called “minority”

Bearing in mind that the protection of minority rights can play a key role in the prevention of conflict in any society, as well as in peace processes; 


  1. Encourages Member States to enhance efforts to destigmatize and provide inclusion to all minority religious communities via education and awareness-raising via means such as, but not limited to:
    1. Reforming school systems in the following ways:
      1. Implementing sessions in secondary schools on the topic of minority religions, with the aim to break down misconceptions and correcting misinformation
      2. Implementing curriculum of religion in schools as well as providing a choice of studying world history of religions instead, while acknowledging the official religion of the country, in order to reduce blasphemy
      3. Establishing that educators or institutions teaching materials offensive to or defamatory towards religions, ethics, and beliefs face potential penalties, including closure
    2. Informing the public with the goal of reducing estigmatization against minority religions by designing awareness raising media campaigns, released by UN Press, addressing intolerance and the root causes of prejudice; 
  2. Requests states to protect individuals practicing minority religions from stigmatization and marginalization by having officials and state institutions refrain from engaging in campaigns that encourage negative portrayals,  in conjunction with national governments; 
  3. Calls for Member States to implement and reform legal frameworks, with the aim to combat discrimination based on religion in all fields via means such as, but not limited to:
    1. Protecting the rights of religious leaders, persons and organisations to freely express opinions to the public, in any communication or media form,
    2. Ensuring equality at workplace via:
      1. Establishing objective qualification criteria, in order to evaluate candidates for hire or candidates for promotion and evaluating all in respect to the criteria
      2. Requiring employers to accommodate religion-associated needs of employees, such as ensuring paid days off during traditional and religious celebrations, without penalization
    3. Reviewing the domestic legal framework relevant to the religious freedom for its compliance with the international standards
    4. Reforming any vaguely-worded laws or any national security legislation that may have broad interpretations and could be abused to discriminate against minority religions
    5. Permitting punishment for blasphemy that would lead to any form of economic, social, or political unrest within the country of occurrence
    6. Creating a legal framework that will promote the empowerment of religious minorities, preserve and ensure the fundamental human rights to which these minorities are entitled to;
  4. Calls for member states to not intervene in internal religious issues without the express permission of the country so that:
    1. Decisions and delegation of resources to be left up to the country where the religious issues are occurring, nevertheless:
      1. Intervention of other countries may be permitted subject to the approval of the affected country
      2. Countries that intervene without the express permission of the affected country will be determined to have violated the sovereignty of the country
    2. Curriculum and educational material should be approved by the country such that it can be the most appropriate and suitable for it;
  5. Promotes the establishment of a special committee by the United Nations (UN), working in conjunction with relative Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s), specialized on the empowerment of religious minorities by:
    1. Assessing the situation in every country member state of the United Nations and whether there has been any violation of a human right or if they do not actively try to empower religious minorities,
    2. Cooperating and working with local authorities while respecting each country’s policy on this particular issue
    3. Funding programs through the World Bank that promote the empowerment of religious minorities with the cooperation of each country’s government.