A human security approach to religious freedom

The religious minorities vulnerability assessment tool


  • Dennis P. Petri


religious freedom, human security, vulnerability, active religious behavior, Latin America


A number of characteristic aspects of religious persecution in Latin America are insufficiently recognized by existing theoretical frameworks and data collection tools, leaving many forms of what I call “vulnerability of religious minorities” unobserved. Adopting a human security perspective, I develop a methodology that allows us to observe how different forms of religious behavior can lead actors such as states, indigenous leaders and organized crime to restrict the religious freedom of a religious minority. I call this methodology the Religious Minorities Vulnerability Assessment Tool (RM-VAT). This tool covers human security threats faced by religious minorities in different spheres of society and in relation to their type of religious behavior, as opposed to simply administering a pre-defined questionnaire. The RM-VAT represents a valuable instrument to assess the vulnerability of religious minorities in ways and on levels not observed before. These new insights form a useful basis to support building resilience within these groups and raising awareness of their situation worldwide.