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The world is confronted with interdependence and co-operation among peoples, groups and nations. Simultaneously, ethnoreligious and interreligious conflicts as well as religious extremism are causing growing concern in all parts of the globe. In regard to the current protection of freedom of religion or belief two questions arise: why has the United Nations not adopted a legally binding instrument on freedom of religion or belief, and how can the international community ensure effective protection of freedom of religion or belief at the dawn of the 21st century? This volume provides the reader with multi-faceted answers to these two questions. It describes the unfolding of international standards and procedures regarding freedom of religion or belief from the establishment of the United Nations to the present. In addition, it investigates the possibility of a separate convention and an optional protocol to an existing human rights treaty. Since it demonstrates that the arguments in favour of these instruments have weakened, other ways and means of enhancing international legal protection are suggested.