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International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance Ministerial Conference

Date: 28.11.2023 - 30.11.2023 , Venue: Prague

Preliminary Program of the Ministerial Conference of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance on Freedom of Religion or Belief under Authoritarian Regimes

The Ministerial Conference of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance (IRFBA) will address the topic of Freedom of Religion or Belief under Authoritarian Regimes. The conference will provide a platform for evaluation of freedom of religion under authoritarian regimes. The main panel sessions will analyze past experiences in Central Europe under Communist rule, and consider how this may help understand the means by which repressive regimes currently restrict freedom of religion or belief. The conference will also explore the misuse of religion for political purposes, building resilience and the role of new technologies in the suppression of religious or belief minorities. In the margins of the conference, the participants will have an opportunity to visit places of worship and memorials connected to suppression of religious minorities. The aim of the conference is also to engage young people in the struggle for FoRB.

IRFBA Ministerial Conference Logo

IRFBA Ministerial Conference Logo

Preliminary Program

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 – Welcome Reception

Welcome Reception for Ministers, Heads of Delegations, Panelists and Speakers

8:00 pm – 9:30 pm (tba)

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 – Ministerial Conference

Main Session in the Czernin Palace


8:30 am – 9:00 am (Ceremonial Entrance)

1. Opening Speeches

9:00 am – 9:30 am (Main Hall)

2. Misuse of Religion for Political Purposes and Building Resilience

9:30 am – 10:45 am (Main Hall)

The Central European region suffered from the systematic suppression of religious freedoms under Communist rule. This panel will reflect on the region’s experience and considers whether and how the lessons learned from that period can be applied to the present.

3. Religious Life under Digital Surveillance

11:00 am – 12:15 pm (Main Hall)

Technology can be used as an instrument for repression, including through unlawful or arbitrary surveillance. In addition to considering the impact of digital surveillance on religious or belief minorities, the panel will also focus on the issue of growing digital persecution.


12:15 pm – 1:00 pm (Hall in front of the Music Hall)

4. Parallel Sessions at the Charles University in Prague and Czernin Palace

4.1. Parallel Session I. Red Wednesday

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

 Venue: Charles University in Prague

4.2. Parallel Session II. Engaging Young People in FoRB

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Venue: Main Hall of the Czernin Palace

There will be various events organized during 2023 by young people for young people to discuss how to promote freedom of religion or belief worldwide. Selected participants will attend the ministerial conference, where they will present their ideas on how to pursue the struggle for freedom of religion or belief.

5. Closing Speeches

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm (Main Hall)

Evening Cultural Program

Guided Tour of the Czernin Palace and Other Sights at the occasion of the Red Wednesday

6:15 pm – 7:00 pm (tbc)


7:30 pm – 9:00 pm (tbc)

Thursday, November 30, 2023 – Regional Round Tables

Venue: Czernin Palace


Contact Details

Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust, Interfaith Dialogue and Freedom of Religion


Robert Řehák, Ph.D., Special Envoy for Holocaust, Interfaith Dialogue and Freedom of Religion

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Loretánská Str. 6, 118 00 Praha 1

E-mail:, Tel.: +420 224 183 253, Mob.: +420 775 477 488


Petra Kaplanová, Coordinator and Administrative Support

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Loretánská Str. 6, 118 00 Praha 1

E-mail:, Tel.: +420 224 183 252, Mob.: +420 608 061 147


Addresses of the Venues

Czernin Palace, Loretánské náměstí 5, Prague 1

Trauttmansdorff Palace, Loretánská 6, Prague 1

Charles University in Prague, Ovocný trh 560/5, Prague 1


The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance is a network of like-minded countries fully committed to advancing freedom of religion or belief around the world. Alliance members must fully commit to the Declaration of Principles. The Declaration is grounded in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, which states everyone has freedom to believe or not believe, to change faith, to meet alone for prayer or corporately for worship. The Alliance is predicated on the idea more must be done to protect members of religious minority groups and combat discrimination and persecution based on religion or belief. The Alliance brings together senior government representatives to discuss actions their nations can take together to promote respect for freedom of religion or belief and protect members of religious minority groups worldwide. Currently 37 countries have joined the Alliance: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, The Gambia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There are also five IRFBA friends: Canada, Guyana, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden. There are three IRFBA observers: Sovereign Order of Malta, Taiwan, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The Red Wednesday is a campaign with the motto “Make a stand for faith and freedom”. It aims at promoting faith and tolerance within society and encouraging solidarity with victims of persecution. Its attribute is red light – a symbol of the blood of those who suffer for the faith and a symbol of hope in the darkness.

In cooperation with

Czech Bishops’ Conference, established by the Apostolic See, is an official assembly of bishops of the Czech Republic who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions for the Christian faithful of their territory in order to promote the greater good which the Church offers to humanity, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place, according to the norm of law.

The Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic is an organization uniting 16 Christian churches and the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic. Together with the Czech Bishops’ Conference, it is an important representative of the interests of Christians in relation to the state. It coordinates the clerical service in the army, police, prison service, hospitals, and strives to work on a growing ecumenical understanding as well as on practical cooperation between Christians of different faiths.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic serves as an umbrella organization for Jewish Communities and other Jewish institutions in the country. Currently there are ten official Jewish Communities in Bohemia and Moravia. There is a number of various Jewish “secular” organizations which fall under the auspices of the Federation, e.g. Terezín Initiative, gathering of Czech Holocaust survivors, Union of Jewish Youth, sporting club Hakoach, etc.

The Institute for Christian-Democratic Politics is a think tank founded in 2016. Its goal is to present the values on which European civilization has grown by contemporary means and to bring the current perspectives of Christian-democratic politics into the public debate. The institute aims to be an important platform for middle-right partners.