In June, IDSN and a group of other civil society organisations met with Ahmed Shaheed, the current Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief, in Brussels. Mr Shaheed was in Brussels to meet with the EU Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, and gather inputs for his next and last report focused mainly on indigenous people and FORB.
In the meeting, IDSN raised Dalit issues particular to Pakistan and Bangladesh, while other NGOs in the room raised minority issues in India. The EU delegation was also there to take note about recommendations coming from civil society.
Mr Shaheed took note of IDSN’s calls and invited us to input into his final report that will be delivered to the 77th Session of the General Assembly. You can read IDSN’s submission to the mandate here which highlighted that Dalits are often blocked from enjoying spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies.
Mr Shaheed invited those participants with colleagues in Geneva to lobby his successor, in order to help shape the mandate. He also urged participants to get together with other NGOs and issue a “top 10 Freedom of Religion and Belief priorities document” to create a consensus among top NGOs working on these priorities about the key issues for the new Special Rapporteur.