The Brazilian Center of Studies in Law and Religion (CEDIRE) is a unique and pionner initiative in Brazil, which aims to study the relationship between law, state and religion from national and international perspectives, as well as to promote the right to religious freedom in Brazil and abroad through research, outreach and assistance projects, supporting vulnerable communities, governments, and NGOs.
It is a Center established at the Federal University of Uberlandia (UFU) and affiliated to The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the United Nations Academic Impact Program (UNAI), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and the Sergio Vieira de Mello Chair of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Center organizes scientific meetings and conferences to stimulate valuable discussions and interactions. Its websites publish case law, national and international law, articles, comments, notes, reports, information on resources (journals, books, videos, websites), useful links and news related to religious freedom and religion-state relations. CEDIRE's projects aim to assist individuals and groups in vulnerable situation.
The Center has been working with several partners, including the Judiciary Power, the Public Attorney's Office and Federal Government in Brazil, as well as foreing and international organizations, such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, and private actors, such as Fundação de Apoio Universitário - FAU and Facebook Brasil (Meta).
In the report presented to the Human Rights Council in its Forty-ninth session (28 February - 1 April 2022) on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (https://undocs.org/A/HRC/49/36), our activities related to the promotion of freedom of religion or belief, in partnership with the OHCHR and the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, were explicitly referred:
“68. In 2021, OHCHR conducted peer-to-peer learning events, piloting the interactive methodology and case studies contained in the #Faith4Rights toolkit, including with civil servants in Brazil and Nigeria (with the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief). Additional events were conducted with universities in Misau, Mozambique; Oslo; Oxford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Pretoria; and Uberlândia, Brazil, as well as with Chevening scholars from more than 60 countries. United Nations human rights mechanisms have been part and parcel of these webinars.”
In 2023, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Nazila Ghanea, discussed the "landscape of freedom of religion or belief" in her report to the Human Rights Council (Fifty-second session, 27 February - 31 March 2023) on promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development (https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G23/006/31/PDF/G2300631.pdf). In the report, she highlighted some initiatives around the world on "education, training and capacity-building", including the work of the Brazilian Center of Studies in Law and Religion (CEDIRE) as a scholarly pratice that advance the field freedom of religion or belief techinical assistance and training, providing crucial legislative input and support.
"§64. Freedom of religion or belief technical assistance and trainings may be focused on particular audiences, such as law enforcement officials. Others are concentrated on “religious literacy”, which helps to sensitize participants regarding knowledge of different manifestations of religion or belief, including its reasonable accommodation, (69) and the understanding of why freedom of religion or belief can support effective responses to pluralism and issues that can arise between or within religions or beliefs. (70) In academia, too, there are numerous scholarly settings, (71) authors and advocates (72) that advance this field, provide crucial legislative input and support the mandate. They are starting to grow in diversity, but their spread can be greatly expanded.
§65. Pedagogic tools and principles on toleration, as a means of integrating principles of freedom of religion or belief and human rights into education, have been developed. (73) One learning platform provides resources to help individuals, communities and decision makers learn, reflect upon and promote freedom of religion or belief for all,(74) by providing resources for personal study and group training courses for politicians, officials, diplomats, policymakers(75) and others. Others promote this through video series(76) or peer-to-peer learning, developed into a variety of formats, such as an online course addressing the role of religious and faith-based actors in promoting human rights and sustainable peace,(77) an online facilitator training course(78) and other online and in-person formats.
(71) For example, https://www.jus.uio.no/smr/english/about/id/oslocoalition/; https://law.nus.edu.sg/cals/research-clusters/; https://www.aclars.org; https://www.direitoereligiao.org/sobre-nos/english; https://www.iclars.org; https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org; https://www.iclrs.org/annual-international-law-andreligion-symposium/; and https://cslr.law.emory.edu, https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu.
(75) See https://www.jus.uio.no/smr/english/about/id/oslocoalition/limitations/index.html."
Although established in Brazil, CEDIRE has a global focus since its foundation. To learn about our International Cooperation and Global Engagement Program, click here.
Forum for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief
Legal Observatory on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Annual Law and Religion Research Meeting
CEDIRE Pro Bono Publico
International Law and Religion Moot Court
Lectures, Seminars, and Training Events
Law and Religion Study Group
Recent research, assistance and outreach special projects
"Freedom of Religion or Belief on the Internet: The Protection of Human Rights in the Information Society" (In collaboration with Fundação de Apoio Universitário - FAU and Finantial support from Facebook Serviços Online do Brasil Ltda.- Meta, 2022-2024)
"Promoting religious freedom and combating hate speech" (Financial aid from the Brazilian Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship, 2023-2025).
"Education and Training on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Brazil 2022-2023" (Finantial aid from the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, in collaboration with the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, 2022-2023)
"G20 Interfaith Forum 2024" (collaboration with the IF20)
"Brazilian Symposium on Religious Freedom" (collaboration with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies - ICLRS/BYU)
"Freedom of Religion or Belief: Collective Exercise and Organizational Autonomy" (Financial aid from the National Secretariat for Global Protection, 2021-2022)
"Human Rights: Knowing, Respecting and Promoting" (Financial aid from the National Secretariat for Global Protection, 2021-2022)
"Religion and Sustainable Development - Latin American Perspectives" (Global Challenges Reseach Fund - GCRF/UK Research and Innovation; G20 Interfaith Forum - IF20; Religion, Law and International Relations Programme - Oxford; Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, OUP; Brunel University London, 2020-2021)
"Education and Training on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Brazil" (In collaboration with the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, 2020-2022)
"Promotion of freedom of religion or belief" (Financial aid from the National Secretariat for Global Protection, 2019-2022)
"Respect for freedom of religion and belief" (Financial aid from the Labour Justice, 2020-2022)
"Human Rights Promotion and Education Program" (Financial aid from the Labour Justice, 2019-2022)
"Freedom, equality and non-discrimination: from human rights theory to practice" (Financial aid from the Labour Public Attorney's Office, 2018-2019)
“Religion and Human Rights: Promoting the Respect for Religious Diversity” (Financial aid from the Ministry of Education of Brazil, 2015-2016).
Av. João Naves de Ávila 2121, Bloco 3D, Sala 301
Campus Santa Mônica
Uberlândia - MG, Brasil
The leading researcher
Rodrigo Vitorino Souza Alves is a member (Associate Professor) of the Faculty of Law of the Federal University of Uberlandia (Brazil). He received his Ph.D in Law (Approved with Distinction by Unanimity) from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra (Portugal), and his LL.M and LL.B from the Federal University of Uberlandia (Brazil). He was an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford, a Researcher at the Ratio Legis - Center for Legal Research and Development of the Autonomous University of Lisbon (on the topic religious freedom, social tension and security), and a non-resident fellow at the International Center for Law and Religious Studies. Prof. Alves was appointed as a member of the Working Group on Religious Freedom of the National Council of Justice by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil in 2022. His teaching and research interests include Law and Religion, Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue, Constitutional Law, Human Rights, Business and Human Rights, and Law and Technology. He leads the Brazilian Center of Studies in Law and Religion, which focuses on freedom of religion or belief, protection of religious minorities, anti-discrimination norms, and religion-state relations. Rodrigo has published academic works and has been invited to speak or present papers at events in Brazil (including the National Congress of Brazil, the Human Rights Ministry, and several Universities) and international events (including in the Universities of Beijing, Oslo, Cardiff, Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Bielefeld, PUC Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile, BYU, Virginia, Notre Dame; Fundazione Marcianum in Venice; Senate of Uruguay; ICLARS; CLLR; United Nations - OHCHR; Organization of American States - OAS). He also leads the Human Rights Lab, which was awarded the national prize offered by the Association of Judges of the State of Rio de Janeiro, for the best human rights project in 2020 (1º lugar no Prêmio AMAERJ Patrícia Acioli de Direitos Humanos). At the United Nations Office in Geneva (OHCHR), Rodrigo served as discussant of the draft recommendations and guest speaker at the Sixth Session of the Forum on Minority Issues on "Beyond freedom of religion or belief: Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities", resulting in the "Recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues at its sixth session: Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities", and he has been collaborating with the UN Faith for Rights Framework on different occasions and initiatives. At the OAS, he presented before the Committee of Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS Permanent Council in Washington DC, on the omnibus resolution chapter about the establishment of an interamerican dialogue on freedom of religion or belief (Feb. 2020). Rodrigo sits at the International Academic Advisory Board of the Advanced Program on Religion and the Rule of Law at Oxford, he is a member of the Editorial Board of the Series "Law and Religion in a Global Context" published by Springer and the editor of the book "Latin American Perspectives on Law and Religion". He is one of the original signatories of the Declaration on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere (December 2018). He was a member of the Expert Advisory Group for the International Development of Law Organization (IDLO) study on freedom of religion or belief. Rodrigo is a member of Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) and the Latin American Consortium of Religious Freedom (CLLR). He is licensed to practice law in Brazil.
Recent research project results and publications
Book Chapter: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza. State, Law, and Religion in Brazil: The Supreme Federal Court Case-Law. In: HOLZER, Shannon (ed.). The Palgrave Handbook of Religion and State. Vol. II. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023, p. 715-739.
Book: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza (ed.). Latin American Perspectives on Law and Religion. 1. ed. Heidelberg & Londres: Springer, 2020.
Book Chapter: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza; GUIMARÃES, Andrea Letícia Carvalho; RESENDE, José Renato Venâncio Prata; CARMO, Gabriellen da Silva Xavier. La libertad de religión o de creencias y la pandemia del COVID-19. Análisis de las medidas restrictivas adoptadas en Brasil. In: MARTINEZ-TORRÓN, Javier; LARA, Belén Rodrigo (ed.). Covid 19 y libertad religiosa. Madri: REDESOC & IUSTEL, 2021, p. 353-376.
Book Chapter: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza. Law and religion in the encounter of cultures: The normative conflicts between freedom of religion or belief and the rights of indigenous peoples. In: Rodrigo Vitorino Souza Alves. (ed.). Latin American Perspectives on Law and Religion. 1ed.Heidelberg & Londres: Springer, 2020, v. 1, p. 10-33.
Book Chapter: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza. The Protection of the Existence and Identity of Religious Minorities Under the United Nations Legal Framework: Between the Group-Centered and Person-Centered Approaches. In: EHLERS, Dirk; GLASER, Henning (eds.). Political and Religious Communities – Partners, Competitors, or Aliens?. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2020, p. 563-591.
Article: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza; ALVES PINTO, T. F. Investigations on the Use of Limitations to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Brazil. Religion and Human Rights, v. 15, p. 77-95, 2020.
Article: ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza; GUIMARAES, Andréa Letícia Carvalho; RESENDE, José Renato Faria Venâncio Prata; CARMO, Gabriellen da Silva Xavier do. Freedom of religion or belief and the Covid-19 pandemic: an analysis of the adoption of restrictive measures in Brazil. Revista general de derecho canónico y derecho eclesiástico del estado, v. 54, p. 1-24, 2020.
Article: RESENDE, José Renato Venâncio; ALVES, Rodrigo Vitorino Souza. A legitimidade da recusa da transfusão de sangue por motivos religiosos à luz do direito à saúde nos 30 anos da Constituição. Revista Direitos Humanos e Democracia, v. 8, p. 78-95, 2020.
Av. João Naves de Ávila 2121, Bloco 3D, Sala 301
Campus Santa Mônica
Uberlândia - MG, Brasil