Topic: The right to religious freedom of minorities in Bangladesh: a study of their impediments

Presenter: Mr Jahid Bhuiyan - PhD Candidate, TC Beirne School of Law

Freedom of religion is an internationally recognised human right. Persons belonging to religious minorities have the right, in community with the other members of their group, to practise their own religion. People of different religions have peacefully lived together in Bangladesh from time immemorial. Nevertheless, the violation of the rights of religious minorities occasionally takes place. The 1972 original Constitution of Bangladesh guaranteed freedom of religion for every individual and contained a secularism principle and banned religion based parties. 

In 1979, secular status was dropped in favour of Islam. In 2010 the apex court of Bangladesh through the 5th Amendment case reinstated the secularism principle which has caused tensions in recent times. Such secularism brand intends to ban religion based political parties, relegate religion in private spheres, and introduce secular education in Bangladesh. 

This project will evaluate the historical development of freedom of religion in Bangladesh and explore traditions concerning religious pluralism which have been influential in Bangladesh. It will evaluate philosophical justifications of religious toleration and the history of the idea in Bangladesh and examine the status of secularism in Bangladesh. This project is also an attempt to portray the human rights situation of religious minorities in Bangladesh and to suggest measures for better effectiveness of existing laws for due protection of the right to religious freedom of minorities in Bangladesh.

 All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: (334) 69350, email:


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