Freedom of religion violated for political control: UN expert

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Heiner Bielefeldt

Freedom of religion and belief is being violated by some governments around the world in order to exercise political control.

That's what the United Nations independent expert on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt told reporters in New York on Thursday before presenting his report to the General Assembly.

Mr. Bielefeldt said that one of the motives for the violations of freedom of religion is what he describes as "religious hegemony" or "truth claims" and also upholding a certain understanding of national identity.

"Identity politics plays an important role. Sometimes simply control politics. So having, exercising control over a country, converts might be perceived as subversive forces operating in the interests of the fifth columns, foreign powers, ideas like this and sometimes those violations occur simply in order to exploit existing resentment for political gains, for political entrepreneurships."

(Duration: 27")

Mr. Bielefeldt said that people have the right to change their beliefs and not to be forced to convert or to go back to their original religion.

He added that people also have the right to convert others by persuasion not force.

Filed under Today's News.
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