About Us

About the IRLA

Chartered in 1893, the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) is the oldest association dedicated to freedom of conscience for all people. 

The IRLA has one of the best international networks among NGOs. It has national associations in 80 countries—including Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Russia. 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. We are represented in New York and Geneva and we take 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, we 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.

The IRLA publishes a journal, Fides et Libertas, which presents excellent articles on religious liberty from experts around the globe.  We also broadcast a television program called Global Faith and Freedom.

Our team is invited every year to give lectures at universities and churches, to write articles, and to give interviews on radio and television.

The IRLA is incorporated as a tax-exempt, educational, not-for-profit organization in the District of Columbia. Originally organized by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the IRLA's purpose is the universal and non-sectarian promotion of religious freedom for all people everywhere. The IRLA does not identify with any political party anywhere, nor does it endorse candidates for political office.

Various religious traditions are represented on the Board of Directors. The president in 1989 was the former general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. The current president (2001-present) is the recently retired general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. The IRLA has no paid staff; officers and directors serve voluntarily. Funding for IRLA operations comes from organizations supportive of the association's purpose.