It’s been 40 years since the U.N. adopted a resolution to end persecution based on faith and defend religious minorities. USIP’s Knox Thames says decades later, “It’s a work in progress … While the situation is bleak, there is a global movement that is starting to build and trying to meet this challenge.”

U.S. Institute of Peace experts discuss the latest foreign policy issues from around the world in On Peace, a brief weekly collaboration with SiriusXM's POTUS Channel 124.

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To Help Central Asia, Engage with Muslim Civil Society

To Help Central Asia, Engage with Muslim Civil Society

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

By: James Rupert

Kazakhstan’s violent upheaval this month underscores that governments and international organizations need to more effectively help Central Asia’s 76 million people build responsive, effective governance across their five nations. Mass protests or communal violence also have struck Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in recent years. As the United States, allied governments and international institutions seek ways to promote nonviolent transitions toward more stable, democratic rule, new research suggests that they explore for partners in an often-ignored sector—Central Asia’s active and disparate Muslim civil society.

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Four Lessons From Desmond Tutu’s Life and Legacy

Four Lessons From Desmond Tutu’s Life and Legacy

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

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On December 26, the world lost a “moral compass,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, aged 90. Grounded in his Christian faith, his legacy as a peacebuilder through his anti-Apartheid activism and promotion of peace and justice is unparalleled. Tutu’s great influence on the field of peacebuilding, and his mark on peace and reconciliation efforts have rippled worldwide. Here are four attributes that Archbishop Tutu exemplified as a religious peacebuilder, radically inspiring people across the globe to fight injustice and advocate for peace. 

Type: Blog

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Myanmar Coup: Military Regime Seeks to Weaponize Religion

Myanmar Coup: Military Regime Seeks to Weaponize Religion

Thursday, December 16, 2021

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Ten months have passed since Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s elected government, and by now it’s apparent that arrests, executions, torture and financial pressures will not pacify a population unwilling to be ruled by generals. So, the coup’s leader, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, is seeking to recast himself through military-controlled media. Rather than an autocrat who overturned the popular will, he portrays himself as the next in a long line of just and honorable Buddhist warrior-kings, monarchs who protected Buddhism from public apathy and external threats. The military is hoping that a barrage of religious propaganda can accomplish what force and violence have not. 

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Unrealized Ideal: 40 Years After a Seminal Declaration on Religious Freedom

Unrealized Ideal: 40 Years After a Seminal Declaration on Religious Freedom

Monday, November 29, 2021

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Anniversaries serve as natural inflection points, opportunities for introspection, to take stock and to consider where to go next. November 25 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Despite its unwieldy name, the aim was simple: to promote freedom of religion or belief and condemn discrimination based on faith. The 1981 Declaration was a culmination of almost four decades of U.N. efforts to develop international legal protections for freedom of belief to defend minorities from persecution. Forty years later, however, almost two-thirds of humanity live in countries with restrictions on the practice of faith. 

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