- Riot police in Egypt, one of the nations listed as violating human rights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) celebrated its 65th anniversary on December 10th. To mark the occasion, the Vice Chairwoman and a Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote a review of how those countries who signed, and those who abstained, score on upholding Human Rights sixty-five years later.
From Europe to the Middle East, the human right of freedom of religion for 75% of the world’s population is trampled on, even from those who agreed to the Declaration.
Why should we care how religious minorities are treated in other countries? The writers respond:
“Human rights abuses and their consequences spill beyond national borders, darkening prospects for harmony and stability across the globe. Freedom of religion or belief, as well as other human rights, are essential to peace and security. They are everyone’s business.”
They give a chilling warning:
The United States and the entire world community have an enormous stake in upholding the UDHR’s human rights principles — including religious freedom. On this Human Rights Day, it is time to reaffirm the declaration by holding its signatories accountable.”
We would do well to learn from the rest of the world.
The United States has a long tradition of upholding the human rights of its citizens, but we are seeing our freedoms rapidly erode. The government has flatly refused business owners like the Hahns and Greens of Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby, Elaine and Jon Huguenin of Elane Photography, cake baker Jack Phillips, Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, Jim and Mary O’Reilly of WildFlower Inn, and many, many others their freedom to run their business according to their conscience. Students have been expelled, professors dismissed, professionals fired, and doctors sued over their religious convictions.
While these cases may pale in comparison to the violence described in the article than people around the world face, it should still be cause for our grave concern.
Read the entire article, “Human Rights Day: Still Pursuing Religious Freedom.” And stay informed about current threats to the freedom of conscience.
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