Protection is a complicated term. It can both refer to the protection of freedom of religion or belief as outlined below:
‘Freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed by article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief’. (UN, n.d.).
The term can extend to also refer to prevention of, protection from, and response to, criminal acts against communities and individuals who are exercising their right of religious expression (usually at places of worship), which is often under attack because of intolerance and discrimination (Newsroom, 2020).
Security shall be founded upon religious freedom
As argued by Dmytro Vovk, who is a member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, it is necessary to promote freedom of religion or belief, in order to build national security and not restrict it or abandon it. He noted that religious activities should not be restricted by governments just because they are performed by minorities who differ from majorities. In short, OSCE research showed that there should be no breach of human rights in the name of security, since such acts generally lead to the opposite results (OSCE, 2022).