Forum 18

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Forum 18 is a Norwegian human rights organization that promotes religious freedom. The organization's name is based on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Forum 18 summarizes the article as:

  • The right to believe, to worship and witness
  • The right to change one's belief or religion
  • The right to join together and express one's belief[1]

The Forum 18 News Service, established by Forum 18 on March 13, 2003, is a web and e-mail initiative to report on threats and actions against the religious freedom of all people, whatever their religious affiliation, in an objective, truthful and timely manner. The first three reporters to lead this project were Felix Corley, Geraldine Fagan, and Igor Rotar. They had previously done similar reporting for the UK-based Keston News Service[2] and continued this work at Forum 18 after Keston Institute closed its news service due to financial difficulties and staff changes.[3]

The news service mainly concentrates on the states of the former Soviet Union, including Belarus, Georgia,[4] Tajikistan,[5] Turkmenistan,[6] Uzbekistan,[7][8] Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, but has also published reports on Kosovo,[9] Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Burma, China[10] (including Xinjiang), Laos, Mongolia, North Korea,[11] and Vietnam.

The news service is published in two editions: a weekly news summary each Friday; and an almost daily edition published on weekdays. There is a searchable archive of reports, including religious freedom surveys of countries and regions, and personal commentaries on religious freedom issues.

In August 2005 one of the organisation's reporters was detained and deported by the authorities at Tashkent airport in Uzbekistan,[12] but it carries on covering that country.

The reports on religious freedom from Forum 18 News Service are widely used by international organizations like Amnesty International,[13] Human Rights Watch,[14] and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE),[15] as well as numerous news sites with different religious affiliation (i.e. Muslim,[16] Christian,[17] Bahá'í,[18] and Buddhist[19]).


  1. ^ "About Forum 18". Forum 18. Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Another great resource". Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  3. ^ "Forum 18 News Service replaces Keston to cover persecution in Eastern Europe | Baptist Press". Baptist Press. March 20, 2003. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  4. ^ "Religious Freedom in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Georgia". Human Rights Watch. February 8, 2004. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  5. ^ "Tajikistan: Top Islamic Body Bans Women From Attending Mosque Services". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. April 8, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  6. ^ "Гундогар :: Harsh new religion law". Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  7. ^ Saidazimova, Gulnoza (April 8, 2008). "Uzbekistan: Tabligh Jamaat Group Added To Uzbek Government's Blacklist". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  8. ^ "Turkmenistan: Former Chief Mufti Sentenced To Prison For Reasons That Remain Unclear". Eurasianet. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  9. ^ "Kosovo: nobody charged for the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries". Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  10. ^ "Country Advice China" (PDF). February 4, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  11. ^ "A Russian Orthodox church goes up in Pyongyang". Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  12. ^ "Uzbekistan Draws Curtain of Secrecy Tighter". Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  13. ^ "Search for 'Forum 18' on". Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  14. ^ "Search for 'Forum 18' on". Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  15. ^ "Search for 'Forum 18' on". Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  16. ^ "The Muslim News website". Archived from the original on August 2, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  17. ^ "The Union of Evangelical Christian-Baptists of Russia website". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  18. ^ "The Bahá'í Faith Index website". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  19. ^ "The Buddhist Channel website". Retrieved October 24, 2010.

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