Authors: Barb Rieffer-Flanagan
The fundamental right to freedom of religion and belief has been violated in various parts of the world. Millions of individuals are simply not permitted to believe and express their beliefs in their society. Although various American administrations have discussed the importance of the right to freedom of religion and belief, this right has often taken a backseat to other national interests. Realism has historically trumped the right to freedom of religion and belief. An additional problem concerning the lack of protection for this human right is the lack of a clear strategy in Washington. In order to see this right protected Washington needs to develop a short term and long term strategy to promote this right. The short term strategy should focus on a cluster of human rights including freedom of association and expression. The long term strategy would provide support for civil society, educational reform and political institutions. By developing a long term strategy Washington would be establishing the foundation so that the right of freedom of religion and belief could develop over time.
Keywords: Freedom of religion and belief; American foreign policy; realism; civil society