East-West Church  Ministry Report
Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 2002, Covering the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe

Rating Religious Liberty in Post-Soviet States

Editor's Note: The Freedom House Center for Religious Freedom, Washington, DC, and editor Paul Marshall deserve commendation for their balanced and comprehensive survey of Religious Freedom in the World, A Global Report on Freedom and Persecution (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2000).  The Report's rankings for the nations of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the study's carefully nuanced criteria for evaluating levels of freedom of conscience, provide an informed and succinct summary of the status of religious liberty in the region.

Religious Freedom Rating
(1-3 Free; 4-5 Partly Free; 6-7 Not Free)

 1    Estonia
 2    Lithuania, Poland
 3    Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Ukraine
 4    Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Macedonia, Moldova, Russia
 5    Azerbaijan, Belarus
 6    Uzbekistan
 7    Turkmenistan

Religious Freedom in the World based its ratings on the following checklist:
(1-3 Free; 4-5 Partly Free; 6-7 Not Free)

1.  Individuals' right to freedom of conscience
2.  Freedom of worship
3.  Freedom of clergy
4.  Right to social participation
5.  Freedom of religious education and instruction
6.  Right to self-government by religious bodies
7.  Equality/nondiscrimination of individuals
8.  Equality/nondiscrimination of communities and institutions.

Editor Paul Marshall carefully crafted criteria for each of eight categories. For example, a sampling of the 15 questions concerning "Individuals' Right to Freedom of Conscience" asks if "citizens have the right 1) to have or not have a religion or belief of their choice; 2) to adopt or to abandon a religion or belief; 3) to change religion or belief; 4) to be members of religious or nonreligious communities of their choice; and 5) to manifest, to defend, to promote, and to disseminate their religious or nonreligious beliefs in private, in public, and in the media."  The editor derived checklist criteria from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, the European Convention on Human Rights, and from Willy Fautre, Human Rights Without Frontiers, Brussels, Belgium.

"Rating Religious Liberty in Post-Soviet States," East-West Church & Ministry Report 10 (Winter 2002), 12.

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© 2002 East-West Church and Ministry Report
ISSN 1069-5664

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