Commonwealth West Africa Roundtable on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)

The Commonwealth Initiative on Freedom of Religion or Belief (CIFoRB), Edward Cadbury Centre, University of Birmingham, UK, collaborated with the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) to organize a Commonwealth West Africa Roundtable on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Accra, Ghana from 28th-29th May 2018. The forum was attended by faith leaders and Parliamentarians from Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and The Gambia.

The event is a result of the CIFoRB’s belief that parliamentarians and faith leaders have an important leadership and convening role within their communities but they often express a need for capacity building, resourcing and educating on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) issues.  This is to enable them to provide the needed leadership and propose initiatives and solutions for their local or regional context.

The event was on the theme “Majority and Minority in Context”. It explored how to protect the value of a person’s right to freely belong and practice, in an increasingly inter-dependent world, where every country now has minorities. During the two days, participants shared country perspectives on FoRB, discussed case studies from Ghana on some thematic areas, explored issues of faith and FoRB in parliaments, effective interaction between parliamentarians and faith leaders, among others.  Participants also explored strategies to get issues of FoRB on the agenda for the 2020 Commonwealth Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

Ultimately, the West Africa forum aimed at contributing to the development of a toolkit of good practice that can be circulated to parliamentarians across the Commonwealth. 

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