This is a ‘MUST DO!’ course for every person on this planet.

A male participant from India

Challenges to freedom of religion and belief and abuses to the human rights of religious minorities are on the rise across the world, with increased violence, harassment and threats often met with lack of accountability. They occur against a backdrop of long-standing social, political, economic, and cultural marginalization and exclusion, particularly for those who face intersectional discrimination, such as religious minority women or persons with disabilities.

It is therefore vital to support organizations and activists representing these communities who work towards strengthening the rights of minorities of faith and belief and combatting the discrimination, prejudices and persecution these communities experience on a daily basis.

What is the course about?

The free, 7-week online course aims to build understanding of regional and international minority rights mechanisms and ways to implement these rights frameworks at the national and local levels and build the capacity of human rights defenders (HRDs) to advocate for the rights of minorities. The course will offer opportunities to exchange and collaborate with other HRDs in order to:

Monitor and report on violations against religious minorities

Raise awareness amongst key stakeholders of the human rights violations, persecution and discrimination these communities face

Campaign from local to international levels to secure commitments from key stakeholders to improve the situation of religious minorities

Graduates will also have the opportunity to follow up with access to a Training of Trainers that will give them the opportunity to develop their skills and share the knowledge they learned

Who can apply for this course?

Civil society organizations and activists representing religious minority and indigenous communities from two regions of the world where religious minorities are suffering from serious human rights violations, widespread discrimination and marginalization are welcome to apply.

Applicants from and/or based in the following countries will be prioritized: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia.

The course, taught in English, consists of the following modules:

Basic Concepts in Human Rights and Minority Rights

UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities

UN Treaties and Human Rights Mechanisms

Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)

UN Mechanisms to Protect Minorities

Regional Human Rights Systems and Mechanisms

Advocacy Campaigns

To complete the course, participants are required to submit three written assignments: a briefer, an outline of a shadow report, and an advocacy plan.

How many hours a week is the course?

The course will require approximately 3 hours per week for the duration of the course. Your participation will be facilitated by a tutor who will offer mentoring on a one-on-one basis as required. Our tutor is an expert in minority rights and community networking.

During the course we also organize a webinar, which offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteurs and engage in a Q&A session with them. 

Watch some excerpts

Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues

Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

To navigate between images, drag and slide the thumbnail images.

They said…

I loved the webinar! It was a treat to meet so many human rights defenders from all corners of the globe.

A female participant based in the US

Excellent course!!! I loved that it was so interactive with short sentences, videos, and quizzes. It was not tiring at all but at the same time very informative.

A female participant based in Greece

I really appreciate the opportunity to interact with the Special Rapporteur specifically. The webinars further updated me about the global situation of minority rights and the approaches of different organizations to resolve the issues related to minority communities.

A female participant from Pakistan

The webinar was very, very helpful. It gave context and helped me see what we are learning about actually looks like in a practical sense.

A female participant from Syria

I really appreciate my tutor for being available whenever I required help and guidelines.

A female participant from Pakistan

More information about the course

When is the course happening?

When is the course happening?

The course will run between 13 March and 30 April 2023. This is the last edition of the course.

Where can I get more details on the course?

Where can I get more details on the course?

Please contact our course coordinator, Robert Nemeth: robert.nemeth[at]

About MRG

About MRG

Minority Rights Group (MRG) is an international non-governmental organization working to secure rights for ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities worldwide and to promote co-operation between communities. The online course is part of a wider project, 'Protecting the Rights of Religious Minorities', a four-year initiative funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

How to apply?

Applications have now closed. You can register your interest below to receive an update from us when they open again:

This project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.