THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
& YOUTH SOLIDARITY DIALOGUE INITIATIVES
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Review: The Alliance of Civilizations Forum, 15-16 January
2008, in Madrid Spain was a high level event of people from many society
sectors, brought together to improve understanding and cooperative relations
among nations, and peoples across cultures and religions to
help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism. There
were twelve Major Outcomes from the Forum printed in this Review on pages 2-3.
Two Major Outcomes are initiatives for governments and youth dialogue. They are
highlighted in bold followed by an Issue Statement for a proposed
pilot project by the
Objective: Build understanding and support for Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Encourage the United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media and Civil Society to use these international human rights standards as essential for long-term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief.
Challenge: In 1968 the United Nations deferred work on an International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance, because of its apparent complexity and sensitivity. In the twenty-first century, a dramatic increase of intolerance and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief is motivating a worldwide search to find solutions to these problems. This is a challenge calling for enhanced dialogue by States and others; including consideration of an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief for protection of and accountability by all religions or beliefs. The tensions in todays world inspire a question such as:
Response: Is it the appropriate moment to
reinitiate the drafting of a legally binding international convention on
freedom of religion or belief? Law making of this nature requires a minimum
consensus and an environment that appeals to reason rather than emotions. At
the same time we are on a learning curve as the various dimensions of the
Declaration are being explored. Many academics have produced voluminous books
on these questions but more ground has to be prepared before setting up of a UN
working group on drafting a convention. In my opinion, we should not try to
rush the elaboration of a Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief,
especially not in times of high tensions and unpreparedness. - UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief,
Option: Forty years later may be the time, however complex and sensitive, to consider a new Working Group to draft a United Nations Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, at the UN backed Alliance of Civilizations Forum in January 2008 addressed the urgency of dialogue; Never in our lifetime has there been a more desperate need for constructive and committed dialogue, among individuals, among communities, among cultures, among and between nations. This includes establishing genuine dialogue within and among all kinds of religions or beliefs, ranging from religious fundamentalism to secular dogmatism.
Concept: Separation of Religion or Belief and State SOROBAS. The starting point for this dialogue is the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. It suggests States recalling their history, culture and constitution encourage nations, religions or beliefs to adopt by consensus fair and equal human rights protection as described in General Comment 22 on Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Human Rights Committee, 20 July 1993 (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4):
Extracts: Extracts are presented under the Eight Articles of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Examples of extracts are presented prior to an Issues Statement for each Review.
4. 1 All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.
5. 3 The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, respect for the freedom of religion or belief of others and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
15-16 January 2008
Announcement of a Global Youth Employment Initiative, called Silatech, with an investment of $100 million from H.H. Sheika Mozah bint Nasser-el-Missned and partnerships with the World Bank and the corporate sector, notably with CISCO, which will begin with 5 pilot country programs in the Middle East.
Announcement of a multi-million dollar AoC Media Fund that will be a first-of-its-kind nonprofit large-scale media production company focused on normalizing images of stereotyped communities and minorities in mass media through partnerships with major
Announcement of national and regional strategies for cross cultural dialogue by governments and multilateral organizations to advance AoC objectives in their respective countries and regions.
Establishment of partnership agreements, with various multilateral agencies and organizations, which contain specific terms that will enable the AoC to leverage networks, contacts, and competitive advantages of partners in the implementation of its programs. We have signed 5 agreements - with UNESCO, ARABIC STATES LEAGUE, ISESCO, ALECSO and
Launch of the AoC Clearinghouse beginning with a theme of Media Literacy Education, which will catalogue media literacy programs and related government policies in different parts of the world; and announcements of partnerships with several universities that will serve as nodes to enliven this clearinghouse by initiating exchanges and posting materials on the latest development in media literacy education.
Launch of a Rapid Response Media Mechanism beginning with an online resource that will feature a list of global experts in cross-cultural issues, who are available to comment or to talk to journalists, particularly in times of major cross-cultural crises.
Establishment of a Youth Solidarity Fund aimed at providing grants to support youth-led programs in the areas of intercultural and interfaith dialogue. Moreover, a decision was made to strengthen the network of youth participants that attended the AoC Forum and broaden the network to include other youth.
Creation of a global network of philanthropic foundations and private funders, which will share information; raise awareness of ongoing initiatives, identify mutual needs; and explore ways to leverage existing resources for greatest impact.
Discussions at the policymaking level that highlight the importance to move the Alliance forward in 2008 such as: developing joint multi-stakeholders initiatives at the regional level aimed at promoting a better inter-cultural understanding, and preventing the mounting of tensions and the
of extremism; contributing to the upgrade of the inter-cultural dialogue among
the two banks of the
Establishment of an Alliance network of good will ambassadors made up of prominent, high-profile, internationally recognized figures drawn form the worlds of politics, culture, sport, business and entertainment to help in promoting the work of the Alliance, highlighting priority issues and drawing attention to its activities.
Commitment by the United Nations Global Compact to producing a publication aimed at raising the visibility of best practices in the corporate sector toward supporting cross-cultural relations.
Signing of an action-oriented statement of solidarity and joint commitment by diverse religious leaders toward the goal of advancing shared security and peace and providing youth with guidance to counter extremist influences.
ISSUE STATEMENT: Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogdan, Prime Minister of Turkey,
in his address to the Alliance of Civilizations Madrid Forum said;
Adult and youth dialogue strategies may depend on a transparent, open and fair reflection on the Preamble of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Mark C. Taylor, Williams College; New York Times Op Ed article makes this point: The warning signs are clear: unless we establish a genuine dialogue within and among all kinds of belief, ranging from religious fundamentalism to secular dogmatism, the conflicts of the future will probably be even more deadly.
The decision to base dialogue on the 1948 Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and supporting international human rights treaties
will depend on whether a pilot project by
Adopted and issued at the Nineteenth Islamic
Foreign Ministers on
The Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference,
Reaffirming the civilizing
and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which God made the best nation that
has given mankind a universal and well-balanced civilization in which harmony
is established between this life and the hereafter and knowledge is combined
with faith; and the role that this Ummah should play to guide a humanity
confused by competing trends and ideologies and to provide solutions to the
chronic problems of this materialistic civilization. The
Article 24: All the rights and
freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shariah. The
This depends on adult approval - parents, religious and non-religious leadership, according to Article 5.2 of the 1981 UN Declaration: Every child shall enjoy the right to have access to education in the matter of religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, and shall not be compelled to receive teaching on religion or belief against the wishes of his parents or legal guardians; the best interests of the child being the guiding principle.
A speaker at the Prague 25 year anniversary of the 1981 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief, may have expressed the choices facing human rights advocates and religion or belief the best; Our educational systems need to provide children with a broad orientation: from the very beginning, children should be taught that their own religion is one out of many and that it is a personal choice for everyone to adhere to the religion or belief by which he or she feels most inspired, or to adhere to no religion or belief at all.
To reply to this Issue Statement open The Tandem Project Country & Community Database link for the 1981 UN Declaration and scroll to: 4.1.2; 5.2; 5.3
The Tandem Project: a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1986 to build understanding and respect for diversity of religion or belief, and prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference materials and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The Tandem Project initiative was launched in 1986 as the result of a co-founder representing the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at a 1984 United Nations Geneva Seminar, Encouragement of Understanding, Tolerance and Respect in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief, called by the UN Secretariat on ways to implement the 1981 UN Declaration. In 1986, The Tandem Project organized the first NGO International Conference on the 1981 UN Declaration.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights First Preamble reads: Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. This principle suggests all States recalling their history, culture and constitution, provide equal protection as declared by international law; for theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief are essential for long term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief.
The Tandem Project
Executive Director: Michael M. Roan, email@example.com.
The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations