In the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December and the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders on 9 December, CSW has been speaking with HRDs across South Asia to find out what it means to be a FoRB defender in the region.
John* is a human rights defender working in Nepal:
“It has been almost a decade since I was (first) involved in human rights advocacy. Initially, it was a learning phase as a member of an international movement, which later turned into social action.
Since then I have been supporting public advocacy for the full realisation of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all in Nepal, especially in the current context as we welcome a new constitution and political environment.
Aside from this I have been raising areas of concern regarding conflicts of interest in non-governmental sectors. A fully functioning and empowered civil society is vital for Nepal to achieve its transitional aims, and I view this as an important part of my work, especially when trying to encourage and defend the right for all to practice their religion or belief, regardless of racial class or social background.