Berlin Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Berlin Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Over 100 parliamentarians from 60 countries attended the second annual conference organized by the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), which took place in Berlin, Germany, on 12-14 September. The list of attendees included four members from ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)—Eva Sundari (MP, Indonesia), Charles Santiago (MP, Malaysia), Kasthuri Patto (MP, Malaysia), and U Shwe Maung (Former MP, Myanmar)—who were invited to share their experiences with human rights advocacy, especially on the issue of freedom of religion.

During the conference, U Shwe Maung spoke on a panel featuring parliamentarians from religious minority communities. Charles Santiago spoke on a panel focused on the significance of regional networks in supporting parliamentarians’ work on human rights, including religious freedom.

aphr-at-ippforb

APHR members attending the IPPFoRB conference in Berlin (from left): U Shwe Maung, Eva Sundari, Kasthuri Patto, and Charles Santiago

Eva Sundari shared experiences from her work as a member of the Pancasila Caucus in Indonesia, which has been active and addressing religious freedom concerns since 2008, during a panel on building linkages between members of parliament and civil society, including academia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered the closing keynote speech at the end of the conference.

The conference followed an August mission of parliamentarians to Myanmar, organized by IPPFoRB and facilitated by APHR. The mission included APHR Member Rachada Dhnarirek (Former MP, Thailand), along with MPs from Malaysia, South Africa, Canada, Norway, and Panama. During that mission, participating MPs examined the human rights situation for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.