Policy Recommendations

Colombia

  • The international community should assist in training officials of the Colombian authorities to help them implement effective policies that protect the human rights of the indigenous population without undermining their traditional autonomy, self-determination, and identity. Additionally, it should promote and invest in programs on tolerance and groups identity so that converts from traditional religions can still be considered part of their indigenous communities despite the change of their faith or belief. By doing so, the living conditions of those members who have converted to Christianity can be improved.
  • The international community should urgently press the Colombian government to prioritize and investigate cases of killings of Human Right Defenders, including faith leaders and to speed-up peace negotiations with the remaining guerrilla groups in the country so that they can relinquish their control of marginalized areas for the citizens in these regions – especially Christians – to live their lives without fear.
  • The International Community should consider funding research programs to analyze cases of religious freedom violations, to ensure the protection of faith leaders and other faith adherents in the current peacebuilding process in Colombia. At the same time, The UN Security Council should explicitly and fully recognize that faith leaders are Human Right Defenders and should acknowledge the specific vulnerability that comes from being a figure of prominence in their communities. In this context, the UN Security Council should mandate the UN Verification Mission in Colombia to promote and support programs aimed at protecting faith leaders and their families from the violence of illegal armed groups and criminal organizations.

Mexico

  • The Mexican government, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, UN and the international community should cooperate with indigenous authorities to integrate freedom of religion, or belief as a fundamental right into indigenous laws and develop a plan to set out how to preserve traditional cultures and values while guaranteeing the co-existence of different faiths.
  • The government should guarantee by law and in practice the full rights and equal treatment and benefits of all religious minorities, including Protestant Christianity. For this, it is necessary that the constitutional protection of religious freedom follow the established in Article 18 of the UNDHR and facilitates its legislative development in each Federative entity and the application of its content by the institutions of the state. Many times, the treatment of matters of religion has been reduced to respecting state church secular principles and this carries with it many misinterpretations that leave Christians of all denominations unprotected.
  • The international community should pay special attention to the position of vulnerable groups in Mexico, particularly the actively practicing Christians. They should also recognize the violations of religious freedom, including the vulnerability of Christians in a context of organized crime (particularly Christians engaged in social work with youths and drug addicts), without the situations being ignored or minimized by their relationship with the Church or by the fear of reprisals by aggressors. Efforts in the fields of state reform, corruption prevention and strengthening of the rule of law and human rights are also essential to Mexican society.
  • Mexico is one the signatories of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. However, corruption levels within the country are high. Mexico is also the country with the world’s highest number of abductions. The international community should assist the government in tackling corruption at all levels. Also, the infiltration of organized crime in public institutions by means of corruption should be addressed as a priority.

The Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America is a program of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation, a registered charity in Voorburg, The Netherlands under Chamber of Commerce #50264249.

Copyright © 2018 - Foundation Platform for Social Transformation

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