PAX Conference on Digital Rights and Freedom of Religion and Belief 

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05 October 2021

PAX and its partners in the 'Musawat' program will host the online conference ‘Digital Rights and Freedom of Religion and Belief in the context of Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine’ on November 3 and 4. With the conference, the organizers want to create a dialogue about increasing online discrimination in the Middle East and freedom of religion and belief.

Digital technologies have become an essential part of our everyday life. Although digitalization offers a lot of opportunities, it has also led to the manifestation of online discrimination. In the Middle East, online hate speech against ethnic and religious groups have been fostered, thereby threatening the Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) within the region. 

In order to counter the trend of increasing discrimination against religious communities, PAX cooperates together with local partners in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine within the ‘Musawat' Project (Arabic for ‘equality’). The Musawat Project is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims to engage young women and men to address discrimination on the basis of religion and beliefs occurring within the social, legal and political spheres as well as on social media.

Dialogue

PAX and the Musawat partners will organize an online conference on Digital Rights and Freedom of Religion and Belief in the context of Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. The conference aims to give a platform for dialogue between international and regional experts, academics, activists, policymakers, NGO’s, journalists, and social media companies, to share new insights on protecting and strengthening digital rights and FoRB. 

This 2-day online conference will take place on Wednesday November 3 and Thursday November 4, 2021. During this conference, interactive workshops and panel discussions with a variety of experts in the field will be organized to enhance the conversation on digital rights and FoRB in the MENA-region. Amongst other topics, we will touch upon sectarianism and online discrimination in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, the impact of Covid-19 on FoRB and digital rights and how online hate speech is manifested against women. During the conference,  public policy makers from social platforms will also discuss how they combat hate speech online. 

Speakers

Keynote speakers are Jos Douma (Dutch Special Envoy for Religion and Belief),  Marwa Fatafta (Policy Manager of Access Now’s work on digital rights in MENA), Nadim Nashif (Executive Director of 7amleh: The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media) and prof. Khidher Domle (Media & Peacebuilding Trainer at the University of Duhok). Though this conference is held in English, Arabic-English and English-Arabic translation will be available. 

Are you interested into this conference? Check out the event website for further information on the agenda and other speakers. Don’t forget to register in order to join the online conference! Registration is free of charge. 

Read more about the Musawat-project.

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