Who will stand up for religious freedom?
WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom, Jubilee Campaign, and other groups defending religious liberty
WHAT: Parallel event at the 22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
WHEN: 2 p.m. CET, Wednesday, March 6
WHERE: Room XXVII, Palais Des Nations, Avenue de la Paix 14, Geneva, Switzerland
GENEVA — A coalition of religious freedom advocacy groups will hold a parallel event at the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Wednesday to call upon all nations to respect universally acknowledged international standards. Two Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will speak at the event and will be available for media interviews.
Jubilee Campaign, in coalition with Alliance Defending Freedom, the All India Christian Council, the World Evangelical Alliance, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the International Institute on Religious Freedom, and other non-government organizations specializing in religious freedom, will call on the Human Rights Council and the international community at large to confront this serious threat to human rights.
“No one should be punished for expressing their beliefs. The freedom to believe and live out one’s beliefs is foundational to all civilized societies,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Paul Coleman, who will speak at the event together with Legal Counsel Tehmina Arora and speakers from other organizations. “Despite this, governments internationally continue to directly or indirectly punish their own citizens merely for manifesting something that is essential to their humanity.”
Incidents such as a man put on death row in Iran, a lynch mob screaming for the blood of an underage girl in Pakistan, and police in India arresting the victim of a violent assault for “disturbing communal harmony” are just a few of the thousands of violations of religious freedom taking place around the world. Coleman’s book Censored details additional problems throughout Europe related to so-called “hate speech” laws.
Even the most basic aspect of religious freedom, the right to decide one’s faith for oneself, has come under threat. As the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief noted in his report to the U.N. General Assembly in October of last year, “Countless reports of grave violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief relate to converts…. This has become a human rights problem of great concern….”
Unfortunately, many nations around the world have enacted laws restricting or virtually outlawing religious diversity. Other governments turn a blind eye to third-party actors who violently infringe on religious freedom with near absolute impunity. Despite the clear standards articulated in reports by the special rapporteur and binding international covenants, religious freedom is ignored.
The coalition includes the following groups: Jubilee Campaign, Alliance Defending Freedom, Set My People Free, International Institute on Religious Freedom, WEA’s Religious Liberty Commission, The Religious Liberty Partnership, Advocates International, Middle East Concern, All India Christian Council, Christian Solidarity Worldwide UK, and World Evangelical Alliance.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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