Understanding and Extending the Marrakesh Declaration in Policy and Practice
3 Oct. 2016 – CIRIS has co-published a new report with the US Institute of Peace (USIP) on the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities. The report explores how policymakers and practitioners can further the aims of this seminal declaration.
Susan Hayward, director of Religion and Inclusive Societies at USIP, authored the report and presented it to the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy at the network’s consultation in Washington in June 2016. Hayward attended the January 2016 conference in Marrakesh that produced the Declaration and has closely monitored its impact and implementation.
Summary from the front page of the report:
- In recent years, ethnic and religious minorities around the world have faced new threats due to the rise of violent extremist groups and exclusionary nationalist movements. In areas where movements associated with the self-declared Islamic State operate, religious minorities have been treated with particular brutality.
- Motivated, in part, by concern for this reality, over three hundred Islamic scholars, politicians, and activists, as well as a small group of interfaith observers, gathered in Morocco in January 2016 to affirm the rights of minorities living in Muslim-majority contexts.
- The conference’s Marrakesh Declaration and the legal framework that informs it draw from Islamic tradition, particularly the seventh century Charter of Medina, to affirm equal citizenship as an Islamic principle and traditional form of governance prescribed by Prophet Muhammad.
- The Marrakesh Declaration is a powerful response to a pressing global human rights concern and a model for how religious tradition
and international human rights law can be mutually reinforcing. This initiative can serve as a powerful resource for legitimizing and advocating for minority rights and equal citizenship more broadly within the Muslim world.
- Its true test of impact will be in its implementation—the extent to which the ideals, principles, and actions envisioned in the Declaration can spread beyond its purview as an elite enterprise to ignite and mobilize a broad-based movement for social, legal, and political change.
- Those from non-Muslim majority contexts wishing to support the Marrakesh Declaration must be careful not to undermine its legitimacy as a Muslim-led initiative, particularly in contexts where minority rights and religious freedom have historically been used as pretext for colonialism and Christian missionizing.
Eastern Christianity and Politics: Church-Relations in Ukraine
11 Jan. 2016 – CIRIS is pleased to announce the release of a new policy report by Aston University’s Lucian Leustean, Eastern Christianity and Politics. In the report, Leustean explores the tensions within Eastern Orthodoxy, particularly with reference to the geopolitical situation in Ukraine, as the world anticipates an historic synod of the Orthodox Church in 2016.
This report was commissioned by CIRIS on behalf of the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy (TPNRD).
CIRIS’s role as the secretariat for the TPNRD is a partnership with George Mason University and is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Lucian Leustean is a Reader in Politics and International Relations at Aston University where he has been teaching since 2007. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Associate Dean for Postgraduate Programmes in the School of Languages and Social Sciences. He studied international relations, law and theology in Bucharest and completed his PhD in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics.
Toward a Religion Attentive Foreign Policy:A Report on an Anglo-American Dialogue
On 30 July CIRIS managing director Judd Birdsall, along with co-authors Jane Lindsay and Emma Tomalin, presented a new report, Toward a Religion Attentive Foreign Policy: A Report on an Anglo-American Dialogue, at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The report summarizes the key policy insights from two US/UK scholar-practitioner conferences in Washington and London.
There has been a significant increase in attention to religion in the diplomacies of both countries in recent years, and this report simply encourages further progress, especially on the UK side. The report recommends that the Foreign Office create a new Director of Religion and Global Issues as a British counterpart to the equivalent position at the U.S. State Department.
The report is the fruit of a British Council-funded partnership between Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project, the University of Leeds, and the Institute for Global Engagement. Tomalin and Lindsay are based the University of Leeds and both are affiliated with CIRIS, as an advisory council member and research associate, respectively.