The German federal government report says freedom of religion and belief is at stake the world over.

The German federal government unveiled a report that looks into religious freedom across the world - it shows a trend towards stronger repression and restrictions.

On Wednesday in Berlin, the Federal Government Commissioner for Worldwide Religious Freedom, Markus Grubel, presented the report together with other German officials.

"Freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental human right. This human right is increasingly restricted and called into question," Grubel summarized the results. 

Almost "three-quarters of all people live in a country that restricts their freedom of religion and belief," he also pointed out.

According to the report, more than 80 percent of people describe themselves as religious. 

The threats against religious minorities have increased in recent years.

In particular, Muslims, Jews, Yazidis, and especially Christians are mostly exposed to discrimination around the world. Those affected are generally persecuted, discriminated against or have suffered violence. 

However, the 208-page report opened special subheads to 30 non-European countries over the past two years.

Syria, Yemen and Libya, where freedom of religion is severely restricted, are excluded from the list due to ongoing civil wars.

“In more than 70 countries worldwide there are blasphemy laws that violate human rights. 

They often serve to discriminate against religious minorities and to restrict freedom of expression. The right to conversion is also restricted in many countries,” the report wrote.

The conversion of religion may be penalised with the death sentence in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iran.

Furthermore, “online hate speech” has a devastating influence on freedom of religion and belief, and is often linked to real events and frequently intensifies existing conflicts.

For example, online hate speech worsened the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

In the education sector, freedom of religion is also often subject to restrictions which can violate human rights.

Grubel underlined massive systematic repression on Muslim Uyghurs in China. He also urged an independent investigation by the UN on the crackdown.

In Iraq, tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians live in refugee camps.

On the other hand, there are some positive developments, such as the abolishing of the death penalty for apostasy by Sudan. The country also declared Christmas as a public holiday.

Source: TRT World