To: The Tandem Project International List Serve
From: The Tandem Project
This is an update of The Tandem Project Issue Statement, November 2007
in advance of the Indonesia Universal Review (UPR).The Indonesia UPR (A/HRC/WG.6/1/IDN/1/2/3)
and the debate was held Wednesday 9 April on the floor of the Human Rights Council (HRC). The
UPR is an important new United Nations Human Rights Council review. All U.N.
Member States will report and receive reviews by the HRC over the next two
The Amadiyah, a minority
religious group in
THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
AND UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Indonesia Bans Sects It Deems Blasphemous may be a resource for the Indonesia UPR process to consider the difference between
Extracts from the New York Times article, Indonesia Bans Sects It Deems
Blasphemous, begin on page 3 followed by an Issue Statement
International Standards for National and Local Applications
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 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 today’s 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: After forty years this may be the time, however complex and sensitive, for the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint an Open-ended Working Group to draft a United Nations Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The mandate for an Open-ended Working Group ought to assure nothing in a draft Convention will be construed as restricting or derogating from any right defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. One writer has said; “Religion raises the stakes of human conflict much higher than tribalism, racism, or politics ever can…it casts the differences between people in terms of eternal rewards and punishments.”
Concept: Separation of Religion or
Belief and State – SOROBAS. The starting point for this concept is the First
Preamble to the 1948 United Nations 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 adopt fair and equal
human rights protection for all religions or beliefs as described in General
Comment 22 on Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
UN Human Rights Committee,
Education & Dialogue
Dialogue: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, at a UN backed Alliance of Civilizations Forum in January 2008 addressed the importance 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.” A writer in another setting said, “The warning signs are clear: unless we establish 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.” Solutions to conflicts over religious or philosophical ideology call for dialogue on the purpose of international law on freedom of religion or belief; and the value of these standards for regional, national and local applications.
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 Issue Statement for each Review.
The attached documents are past Issue Statements that
may be used as reference sources for
1. 1 Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practices and teaching.
1. 3 Freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
7. 1 The rights and freedoms set forth in the present Declaration shall be accorded in national legislation in such a manner that everyone shall be able to avail himself of such rights and freedoms in practice.
On Nov. 9, the Indonesian Supreme Court sentenced Abdul Rachman, who claims to be the reincarnation of the Prophet Muhammad and is the No. 2 leader of a religious group known as Lia Eden, to three years in prison for blasphemy. The day before, the attorney general banned a sect led by a man claiming to be the next prophet of Islam.
Various laws and edicts prohibit blasphemy,
heresy, proselytizing and apostasy. In practice, they are applied primarily to
perceived offenses against mainstream Islam. Nearly 90 percent of
Last week the attorney general’s office said it would continue to pursue legal action against Ahmad Moshaddeq, the leader of an Islamic sect known as Al Qiyada, on blasphemy charges, even after he declared that he had realized his teachings were misguided and would return to mainstream Islam.
The attorney general’s office banned Al Qiyada on Nov.8, Mr. Moshaddeq, whose house was burned down this year by a mob, had said that he was the next Muslim prophet and did not require his followers to pray five times a day or toward Mecca. A central tenet of Islam is that Muhammad was the final prophet.
Several of Mr. Moshaddeq’s followers remain in
custody. “We want to reform the penal code, especially articles on banning
sects for blasphemy,” said Uli Parulian Sihombing, a human rights lawyer who
has often defended religious groups. “These people are nonviolent and peaceful.
These laws are simply a justification for the government to intervene on issues
of faith.” -
ISSUE STATEMENT: The Tandem Project focus is on Article 18 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Everyone shall have a
right to freedom of religion or belief, and the 1981 UN Declaration on the
Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion
or Belief. The UPR review “shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on interactive
dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with
consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty
bodies…according to the guidelines published under Human Right Council in
Resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007.
· Article 18 protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. - General Comment 22 on Article 18, United Nations Human Rights Committee, 1993.
1. Teaching for Tolerance in
the Indonesian Context - an Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or
Belief project, is a follow-up to the UN sponsored Madrid Conference in 2001 on
the twenty year anniversary of the 1981 UN Declaration. It is described on The
Oslo Coalition website, http://www.oslocoalition.org.
In January 2007 a workshop was held in cooperation with the Alauddin State
Islamic University in
2. Facilitating Freedom of Religion or Belief: a Deskbook. This is a book originally commissioned to publish the papers of the 1998 Oslo Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. It expanded to a 1,000 page “historical and philosophical background on religious human rights, detailed analysis of applicable international norms and international procedural mechanisms for safeguarding these norms.” Part V on Changing Beliefs and the Tensions of Tolerance; provide analysis on cults, sects, proselytism and apostasy that will be helpful to an analysis of the New York Times article, Indonesia Bans Sects It Deems Blasphemous in the context of the Indonesia UPR. In 2007 course modules are being developed. An Indonesian translation of the Deskbook is being proofed for publication. - The Tandem Project, a File Attachment.
3. Proselytism and Human Rights: The Right to Try to Convince the Other- an excellent best practices on how to breakout the Eight Articles of the 1981 UN Declaration for analysis in an Indonesian context of the right of proselytism. This Project, now named Missionary Activity and Human Rights, involves respectful discussion in both a Christian and a Muslim context that is applicable in many countries. The aim of this project is to contribute, on the basis of human rights, to the resolution of conflicts arising from missionary activities.” - The Tandem Project, a File Attachment.
4. Indonesia – Urgent Appeal:
Freedom of Religion or Belief – Framework for Communications; is The
Tandem Project Issue Statement on the
U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief,
5. OHCHR-OIC Memorandum of
Understanding on Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights; is
described in The Tandem Project Review: Geneva, 11 July 2006 – The Office of
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Organization
of the Islamic Conference (OIC) signed in Rabat, Morocco, a Memorandum of
Understanding on Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights. Could this
Memorandum of Understanding be support Article 18, International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the 1981 U.N. Declaration on
Freedom of Religion or Belief? What part does the Cairo Declaration on Human
Rights in Islam signed by the Foreign Ministers of OIC countries on
6. The Cairo Declaration on Human
Rights in Islam was adopted and issued at the Nineteenth Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers on
7. Concept: Separation of Religion or Belief and State – SOROBAS, proposes that fair and equitable international human rights standards are essential for long-term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief. This Concept by The Tandem Project builds respect for diversity of religion or belief and may be applicable for dialogue, with other models, in the UPR process for all UN Member States. It is proposed here as a paradigm for discussion of Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for the Indonesia UPR.
· Principle: 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,” – recognized as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”
· Concept: Separation of Religion or Belief and State – SOROBAS. States recalling their history, culture and constitution on religion or belief, provide equal protection by law against all forms of intolerance and discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief, for theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.
· Beliefs: Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.” - General Comment 22 on Article 18, United Nations Human Rights Committee, 1993.
Reply: The Tandem Project Country & Community Database collects information worldwide on United Nations Human Rights Bodies. The information is used for UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR); UN Treaty-based Reports; UN Special Procedures, Special Rapporteur Reports. Click on the link below to open the Database. Read the Instructions & Table of Contents: scroll to an Article of your choice and click to reply.
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 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