The Seventh World Congress of the International Religious Liberty Association was held 24-26 April 2012 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with more than 800 international guests in attendance. Chartered in 1893, the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) is the oldest association dedicated to freedom of conscience for all people. It has national associations in 80 countries. Thirteen regional chapters cover the whole surface of the globe with correspondents in 200 countries. In 2003, the IRLA was recognized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and given the status of United Nations Non-Governmental Organization Category II. It is represented in New York and Geneva and takes part in the Human Rights Council meetings every year.
A primary aspect of the IRLA’s work is to ensure that religious freedom has the highest possible visibility on the world scene. To that end, its hold congresses, regional conferences, national symposiums, and local meetings—all aimed at making sure issues of religious freedom remain high on society’s agenda. For despite the importance of international covenants and national legislation, without public support for religious freedom, any gains remain at the level of theory rather than practice.
Among the topics addressed by international experts at the 7th World Congress: