The article 18 of UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), is mainly about the individual’s right of religious freedom, the most important part of which is the right to change one’s religion or belief. It allows the followers of all religions and beliefs to change his/her religion anytime and states or societies should not restrict him/her to do so. This article also forbids states not to restrict people from practicing their faiths according to their own beliefs.

I found the Cairo Declaration mainly for Muslims, i.e. Article 24, “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah”, which somehow restricts its universality and acceptance or consensus by most of the western countries/nations. It covers different type of Muslims’ human rights, ranging from children rights to work rights, but Article 10 is about the freedom of religion and belief. I found that Cairo declaration is stating that it is based on Sharia and also stating about religious freedom, which means that Sharia permits for the freedom of religion and belief, which is most controversial point in today’s Muslim world.

The General Comment No. 22 is primarily the extension of Article 18 in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1993, to further elaborate and check the status of Article 18 during that time, i.e. either that is valid and practicing in the changed perspective of the world. The other major point in Comment No. 22 is that it is talking about the right of  atheists, either to practice a religion or to have freedom to be atheist. Simply, it is further explanation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 18.

Rabat Plan seems quite different document to me as it is not a religious one, but consists on the inputs and working mainly by the non-religious people who were advocates of human rights to avoid discrimination, hostility and violence. It was developed immediately after the incident of PBUH’s sketches in Denmark on the name of freedom of expression and speech, which incited the emotion of Muslims all over the world. In this way, this document believes on freedom of speech or expression to the limit from where other’s limitations have been started. Additionally, this document’s development methodology seems engaging, i.e. prior discussions in different parts of the world with different type of people were made to develop this so that there can be more reliability and acceptability of Rabat Plan afterwards.  It seems, the Rabat Plan is drawing conclusion after situational analysis and making further recommendations for the effective use of individual’s right for the freedom of religion and belief.

UN Human Rights Council, Res. 22/20 is also addressing different contexts for the Freedom of Religion and Belief, providing guidelines to states and individuals. In the world’s current context, its Article 6 is quite relevant stating that no religion should be equated with terrorism, i.e. equating Islam nowadays, which means that religion brings peace not terrorism, extremism and hatred.