The UK FoRB forum is the leading platform for freedom of religion or belief in the UK. It brings over 70 different faith, belief and human rights organisations together to advance the cause of FoRB around the world. We are delighted to form part of the advisory steering group responsible for curating the civil society programme at July’s ministerial conference.

The culture of any nation is strengthened by civil society groups active in public life. This is especially true in promoting religious freedom or belief. Different faith-based organisations, community groups, and not-for-profit organisations working in this policy area hold local leaders and nation governments to account on commitments made, they provide relief and aid when human rights abuse occurs, and they advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable and forgotten in society.

At the freedom of religion or belief conference this summer, civil society will again play a significant role. Survivors of religious persecution will be in London to share personal accounts of the suffering endured. FoRB specialists and researchers will present reports, learning and campaigns, highlighting where FoRB intersects with foreign policy, sanctions and humanitarian aid. Together, they will present solutions for how the UK government and other national governments can be better advocates for FoRB.


100 fringe events to raise awareness about global persecution going on around the world today

The concept of the FoRB fringe is very much the creative idea of Fiona Bruce, the prime minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief. Inspired by the Edinburgh fringe festival, Fiona is travelling across the UK encouraging church leaders, community groups and universities to host events and conversations about the importance of FoRB for all. The hope is that there will be more than 100 fringe events taking place before and after the ministerial. To see the full list of events, talks and exhibitions please visit the civil society conference website.

"Too many people around the world experience discrimination or persecution on the basis of what they choose to believe, or indeed how they share or practice those beliefs. The FoRB fringe is an opportunity for the church to make its voice heard alongside other faith and civil society groups, and to affirm that freedom of religion or belief is a right for everyone, everywhere, in recognition of their human dignity which emanates from being made in the image of God."
Mervyn Thomas Cropped
Mervyn Thomas CMG
Chair of the UK FoRB forum

Three fringe events we’d love you to pray for

1. Open Doors UK and Ireland

North Korea 1 1

Open Doors will launch its digital persecution” report as part of the civil society programme at the conference. The report concludes over a year’s worth of research exploring how technology, human rights and religious freedom come together and, in particular, how technology is used to persecute and discriminate against Christians and other religious minorities around the world.

2. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

Christians in Cuba praying in streets

CSW will host an exhibition stand on the civil society floor of the main venue as well as host a panel conversation with journalists and human rights defenders on the state of religious freedom in Cuba, Myanmar and Sudan.

3. Release International

Release International, in partnership with Artless Theatre Company, re-tell the real-life story of Petr Jasek’s (Release International’s associate ministry worker) 445 days imprisoned in Sudan with ISIS fighters. If prison walls could speak is a hybrid, multimedia performance bringing to life the experiences of the persecuted church to a UK audience.