THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL RESOLUTION
ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF (A/HRC/6/L.15/Rev.1)
Issue: Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief – mandate extended three years
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
The Tandem Project breaks out the resolution
(A/HRC/6/L.15/Rev.1) under the Eight Articles of the 1981 UN Declaration and
prints the resolution in full at the end of this document. The resolution
(A/HRC/6/L.15/Rev.1) was the only one of thirteen
resolutions not to be adopted by consensus
by the UN Human Rights Council. The International Service for Human Rights
(ISHR) an international NGO reports in its Human Rights Monitor Series, on the
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 Tandem Project Review.
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 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,
Extract Examples: 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.
The articles of the 1981 UN Declaration are in Italics and excerpts from the draft resolution (A/HRC/6/L.15/Rev.1) are in bold print beneath the articles.
1. 2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have a religion or belief of his choice.
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 the 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;
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.
14. Further emphasizes that, as underlined by the Human Rights Committee, restrictions on the freedom to manifest religion or belief are permitted only if limitations are prescribed by law, are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, and are applied in a manner that does not vitiate the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
3. 1 Discrimination between human beings on grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.
10. Stresses the need to strengthen dialogue, inter alia through the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations and the Alliance of Civilizations, including through the recently appointed High Representative of the Secretary-General for the Alliance of Civilizations and the focal unit created by the General Assembly in its resolution 61/221 within the Secretariat to interact with various entities in the United Nations system and coordinate their contribution to dialogue;
ISSUE STATEMENT: The Human Rights Council resolution extending the
mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief by three
years (A/HRC/6/L.15/Rev/1) was the only resolution not to be passed by
consensus. An attempt was made for consensus by leaving out 24 out of the
original 40 paragraphs. According to the International Service for Human Rights
Service for Human Rights (ISHR) reported “
then reported, “
these disagreements, the OIC called for a vote, and said it would abstain. A large number of OIC members of the Council then
took the floor to align with the statement by
The Tandem Project welcomes initiatives to consider renewing the United Nations Working Group, deferred in 1968, to draft a Convention on Religious Intolerance. However, we are aware of the concerns raised by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief whether this is the appropriate time to draft a legally-binding instrument. In her opinion, “Law making of this nature requires a minimum consensus and an environment that appeals to reason rather than emotions.” To understand the complex and sensitive chronology of the 1981 UN Declaration, The Tandem Project recommends reading the History of the 1981 UN Declaration on The Tandem Project website: http://www.tandemproject.com/program/history.htm. The Word File document – Concept: Separation of Religion or Belief and State (SOROBAS), is attached for consideration.
The selection and appointment of the mandate holders will be under Item I. Organizational and procedural matters: 7th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (3-28 March 2008).
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