THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS – SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTS
Issue: Nuclear Weapons – Synergy is Essential for U.N. Security and Human Rights Councils.
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Review: Synergy between the U.N. Security Council to control the misuse of nuclear energy for the development of nuclear weapons and the U.N. Human Rights Council to assure compliance with international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief is essential to upholding the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.
In the 1980’s a member of the British House of Commons warned that global ethics was not growing in tandem with the rapid rise of science and technology, and historically new science and technology has always led to new weaponry. Science and technology developed peaceful uses for nuclear energy which led to weapons of mass destruction. Our survival in the future will depend on secure, practical and rational ways to break this cycle.
The United Nations was founded in
Chapter I of the 1945 United Nations Charter states its Purposes and Principles: to maintain international peace and security…; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights...; to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
Chapter V of the United Nations Charter sets out the composition, functions and powers of the U.N. Security Council and states: “In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.”
In 1957 the International
Atomic Energy Agency was set up within the United Nations family. IAEA is known
as the “Atoms for Peace” agency and is headquartered at the
In 2006 the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 60/251 established a U.N. Human Rights Council: “Reaffirming the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, including developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples, and achieving international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.” Elevating the former U.N. Human Rights Commission to a U.N. Human Rights Council may, eventually, give it the status of the U.N. Security Council.
Excerpts describe the first test of an atomic bomb in 1945 and an American folk song on its modern consequences. Excerpts from “In Death’s Shadow, Islam and Apostasy” are an example of the difficulty of reconciling a core principle of one religion with Article 18 of the ICCPR and the 1981 U.N. Declaration. Our survival may depend on how well exclusive rights to truth of all religions or beliefs are reconciled with universal human rights in a fair and practical way. The increasing number of global interfaith, intercultural dialogues is a positive step in this direction.
Link to Chapter V United Nations Charter: Composition of U.N. Security Council:
Resolution establishing the United Nations Human Rights Council:
Excerpts: Excerpts 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 1981 U.N. DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL
FORMS OF INTOLERANCE AND OF DISCRIMINATION
BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
Proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations
Considering that it is essential to promote understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief and to ensure that the use of religion or belief for ends inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, other relevant instruments of the United Nations and the purposes and principles of the present Declaration is inadmissible,
“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”
Quote by J. Robert Oppenheimer, Trinity 1945
Robert Oppenheimer was
the director of the laboratory in
“In an interview in 1965,
Oppenheimer describes the initial reactions as the fruit of their labors, the
very first nuclear bomb (the
The quote is indeed from the Bhagavad Gita (“Song of the lord”). Some suggest it’s a misquote, which would explain the peculiar grammar; but “am become” is not an error but a (poetic) archaism, as in “I am become a name, for always roaming with a hungry heart” (Tennyson, Ulysses). Which in turn might be a trace of French; “je suis devenu las mort”.
Since Oppenheimer was
proficient in Sanskrit from his days at the
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. - Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 11, verses 31-33.
Several books, films and
plays have been written about the Manhattan Project. The production of an opera
‘Doctor Atomic,’ in
American Folk song: from the 1960’s.
They’re rioting in
They’re starving in
There are hurricanes in
The whole world is festering
with unhappy souls,
the French hate the Germans,
the Germans hate the Poles,
Italians hate Yugoslav’s,
South Africans hate the Dutch,
And I don’t like anybody very much.
But we can be tranquil and thankful
and proud, for man’s been endowed
with a mushroom shaped cloud,
And we can be certain that some
lovely day, someone will set the
spark off and we will all be blown
There rioting in
There’s strife in
what nature doesn’t do to us,
will be done by our fellow man.
In Death’s Shadow: Islam and Apostasy
The Economist, July 26th-
“Can a person who is
Muslim choose a religion other than Islam?” When
And they were even more scandalized by his conclusion. The answer, he wrote, was yes, they can, in the light of three verses in the Koran: first, ”unto you your religion, and unto me my religion” second, “whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve;” and, most famously, “There is no compulsion in religion.”
The sheikh’s pronouncement was certainly not that of a wet liberal; he agrees that anyone who deserts Islam is committing a sin and will pay a price in the hereafter, and also that in some historical circumstances (presumably war between Muslims and non-Muslims) an individual’s sin may also amount to “sedition against one’s society.” But his opinion caused a sensation because it went against the political and judicial trends in many parts of the Muslim world, and also against the mood in places where Muslims feel defensive.
In the West, many
prominent Muslims would agree with the mufti’s scripturally-based view that
leaving Islam is a matter between the believer and God, not for the state. But
awkwardly, the main traditions of scholarship and jurisprudence in Islam – both
the Shia school and the four main Sunni ones – draw on Hadiths (words and deeds
ascribed with varying credibility to Muhammad) to argue in support of death for
apostates. An in recent years sentiment in the Muslim world has been hardening.
In every big “apostasy” case, the authorities have faced pressure from sections
of public opinion, and from Islamist factions, to take the toughest possible
Under the far harsher
The fact that he fled to
If there is any issue on which Islam’s diaspora – experiencing the relative calmness of inter-faith relations in the West – might be able to give a clearer moral lead, it is surely this one. But even in the West, speaking out for the legal and civil right to “apostasise” can carry a cost. Usama Hasan, an influential, young British imam, recently made the case for the right to change religions – only to find himself furiously denounced and threatened on Islamist websites, many of them produced in the West.
The debate in the U.N. Human Rights Council on
There was no consensus on
this issue as 29 countries voted in favor and 18 countries abstained on the
U.N. Human Rights Council. The 18 country abstentions were based on the
Human Rights Council Resolution 6/37: Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief:
9. Urges States:
(a) To ensure that their constitutional and legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief to all without distinction, inter alia, by provision of effective remedies in cases where the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, or the right to practice freely one’s religion, including the right to change one’s religion or belief is violated:
ISSUE STATEMENT: International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief are international human rights treaty law and universal codes of conduct for peaceful cooperation, respectful competition and resolution of conflicts. The standards are a platform for genuine dialogue on core principles and values within and among nations, all religions and other beliefs.
Surely one of the best hopes for the future of humankind is to embrace cultures in which religions and other beliefs accept one another, in which wars and violence are not tolerated in the name of an exclusive right to truth, in which children are raised to solve conflicts with mediation, compassion and understanding.
Submit information under the Eight Articles and sub-paragraphs of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief by using The Tandem Project Country & Community Database.
Introduction: The Tandem Project is dedicated to support for International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The focus is on fundamental values shared virtually universally by public, private, religious and non-religious organizations to change how our cultures view differences, how we often behave toward one another and to forestall the reflexive hostility we see so vividly around the world.
As we are all painfully
aware, religious conflict continues to escalate worldwide whether in the
Surely one of the best hopes for the future of humankind is to embrace a culture in which religions and other beliefs accept one another, in which wars and violence are not tolerated in the name of an exclusive right to truth, in which children are raised to solve conflicts with mediation, compassion and understanding.
The Tandem Project: a non-governmental organization founded in 1986 to build understanding, tolerance and respect for diversity, and to prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project, a non-profit NGO, 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 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
The Tandem Project initiative is the result of a co-founder representing the World Federation of United Nations Associations at the United Nations Geneva Seminar, Encouragement of Understanding, Tolerance and Respect in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief, called by the UN Secretariat in 1984 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 is: Michael M. Roan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
Purpose: To 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 consider the rule of law and International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief as essential for long-term solutions to conflicts in all matters relating to 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:
Should the United Nations adopt an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief?
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.
Separation of Religion or Belief and State
Concept: Separation of Religion or Belief and State - SOROBAS. The First Preamble to the 1948 United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 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 concept
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,
Article 18: protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. The terms belief and religion are to be broadly construed. Article 18 is not limited in its application to traditional religions or to religions and beliefs with international characteristics or practices analogous to those of traditional religions. The Committee therefore views with concern any tendency to discriminate against any religion or belief for any reasons, including the fact that they are newly established, or represent religious minorities that may be the subject of hostility by a predominant religious community. Article 18: permits restrictions to manifest a religion or belief only if such limitations are prescribed by law and necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
The Tandem Project uses International Human Rights
Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief to review the actions of
governments, religions or beliefs, non-governmental organizations and civil
society under constitutional systems such as Separation of Church and State,
Objectives: The Tandem Project Objectives:
1. Use International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief as a platform for genuine dialogue on the core principles and values within and among nations, all religions and other beliefs.
2. Adapt these human rights standards to early childhood education, teaching children, from the very beginning, 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.1
Dialogue: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, at the Alliance of Civilizations Madrid Forum said; “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 has 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.”
International Human Rights Standards on Freedom or Religion or Belief are international law and universal codes of conduct for peaceful cooperation, respectful competition and resolution of conflicts. The standards are a platform for genuine dialogue on core principles and values within and among nations, all religions and other beliefs.
The 1981 U.N. Declaration states; “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, and shall not be compelled to
receive teaching on religion or belief against the wishes of his parents, the
best interests of the child being the guiding principle.” With International
Human Rights safeguards, early childhood education is the best time to begin to
build tolerance, understanding and respect for freedom of religion or belief.