Registration, recognition, and freedom of religion or belief

Taylorian, Brandon Reece orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2632-5642 and Ventura, Marco (2023) Registration, recognition, and freedom of religion or belief. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion . ISSN 2047-0770

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Violations of religious freedom resulting from how states arrange their recognition and registration policies continue to escalate around the world. States might seek to regulate the religious activities of their citizens and recognition and registration are convenient tools in this pursuit. Registration is sometimes made mandatory; groups may be barred from accessing it and what they must do to first obtain and then to maintain registered status can be onerous. Such restrictive policies serve to preserve a religious or political hegemony by filtering out religions and beliefs deemed unfavourable and unworthy of recognition. After surveying the ways recognition and registration are misused, this article contends that more definitive international standards are necessary to supersede ambiguous guidelines. Furthermore, this article deliberates over the plausibility that recognition, as a mode of state–religion relations, might still have the potential to facilitate freedom of religion or belief. This relies on whether a state uses recognition to facilitate all religions and beliefs by reducing deep-set favouritism and any administrative hurdles imposed during registration.

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