Travel Plans: Understanding Religion in Mali

Over the past few days, the planned UN peace mission to Mali has been covered in the news extensively. In this post Martijn van Loon analyzes the motivation for the Dutch government to participate in this mission, based upon the ‘artikel 100-brief’ discussed in the parliament last week. He observes that the role of religion …

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Race and the study of religion: ’West’ and ‘East’, or White and non-White?

The Religion Factor post on 28 November 2013 - Religion and International Relations (IR) Theory  -posed a challenge to IR scholars to be more self-reflexive in their understanding of religion and secularism. Such self-reflexive thought challenges dominant categories of thinking in IR, like thinking of Europe as a secular space, or religion as a disruptive …

Humanity in Action: Religion, Human Rights and the Question of Neutrality

In today’s blog post, Brenda Bartelink reflects on aid in humanitarian emergency and disaster situations, drawing attention to how religion and human rights are lived out and practiced amidst the multiple moral frameworks that influence humanitarian practice. From secular perspectives faith based humanitarianism is questioned because of the potential threat it poses to realizing the …

The Neoliberalization of Youth Peacebuilding

As part of our series on human rights for Human Rights Week, in today’s post Erik Meinema investigates how the neoliberal context in which NGOs and peacebuilding organizations operate influence their capacity to protect and promote human rights through contributing to peacebuilding processes around the globe. The neoliberalisation of peacebuilding, he argues, leads to an …

Religion and Human Rights: The challenges of universalism and cultural particularism

Tuesday 10 December 2013 is World Human Rights Day, marking the 65th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly vote to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In recognition of this milestone, this week The Religion Factor features a series of reflections from scholars and practitioners on the relationship between religion and human rights, …

A secular saint? The Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela

The inevitable moment of Nelson “Madiba” Mandela’s departure from this world came last Thursday evening, 5 December. Given that he had been so frail for some time, his death was not unexpected, yet that does not lessen the impact of his loss. As South Africa and the world honour his life through various services and …