The Right to Freedom of Religion on Human Rights Day 2014


The Right to Freedom of Religion on Human Rights Day 2014

10 Dec 2014

Human Rights Day is marked each year on 10 December to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Human Rights Day commemorates the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations." This year's slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon said on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2014: "We denounce authorities who deny the rights of any person or group. We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation. This is a matter of individual justice, social stability and global progress."

The international community made a commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all

The Declaration celebrates that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 stated that "Whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status, the international community on 10 December 1948 made a commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all of us."

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has 30 articles, states the following on religion in these three Articles:

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

A right to freedom of thought, conscience & religion

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 26: (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Religion & Geopoliticsalso displays global data on the status of ratification of international human rights treaties and optional protocols around the world. This data is taken from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs.

Our Face to Faith schools programme is doing very important work, delivering a pioneering education programme for 12-17 years across 30 countries to help prevent religious conflict and extremism. To celebrate Human Rights Day the programme is working with Hardwired to educate and encourage advocacy on the rights of religious and belief minority groups. Face to Faith are also hosting video conferences, connecting classrooms around the world for dialogue around Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to challenge students to become ambassadors for freedom of religion and belief.

You can read more on Human Rights Day here.

This article summarises an external report, and is not to be taken as the view of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. 

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