THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
UN RESOLUTION THREATENS
Available in other languages: click here if the language box does not display.
Issue: UN Code of Conduct Threatens
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Review: A draft resolution (A/HRC/11/L.8) Enhancement
of the system of special procedures, threatening the independence of
UN Special Rapporteurs was introduced by
The report (A/HRC/11/2) by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, was criticized by a group of States on the UN Human Rights Council who claimed the report was outside his mandate and violated the UN Human Rights Council Code of Conduct established for Special Procedures. See report attached, The Killing of Witches.
Also criticized was a report (A/HRC/11/4) by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue. This reflects the on-going tension between factions of the UN Human Rights Council over freedom of expression. See attached: The Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.
The draft resolution (A/HRC/11/L.8) seemed to be an attempt to remove the two Independent Experts based on reports critical of States. It is an example of ways in which some members of the UN Human Rights Council are trying to control the transparent flow of information by using rules established by the Council itself called the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures. The final draft resolution was modified and calls on the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights to instruct Special Rapporteurs on the Code of Conduct and how to adhere to its provisions.
Link to: (A/HRC/11/2) Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston.
Link to: (A/HRC/11/4) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.
Link to: Draft resolution (A/HRC/11/L.8) Enhancement of the system of special procedures
Excerpts from: Article 18 CCPR and 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
1981 UN Declaration: In accordance with Article 1 of the present Declaration, and subject to the provisions of Article 1, paragraph 3, the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief shall include, inter alia, the following freedoms:
6. 4 To write issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas;
ISSUE & REVIEW: FOLLOW-UP
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.”
Genuine dialogue on human rights and freedom of religion or belief calls for respectful discourse, discussion of taboos and clarity by persons of diverse beliefs. Inclusive dialogue includes people of theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. The warning signs are clear, unless there is genuine dialogue ranging from religious fundamentalism to secular dogmatism; conflicts in the future will probably be even more deadly.
In 1968 the UN deferred work on an International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance because of its complexity and sensitivity. In forty years violence, suffering and discrimination based on religion or belief has dramatically increased. It is time for a UN Working Group to draft what they deferred in 1968, a comprehensive core international human rights treaty-a United Nations Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief. See History.
The challenge to religions or beliefs at all levels is awareness, understanding and acceptance of international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief. Leaders, teachers and followers of all religions or beliefs, with governments, are keys to test the viability of inclusive and genuine dialogue in response to the UN Secretary General’s urgent call for constructive and committed dialogue.
The Tandem Project title, Separation of Religion or Belief and State (SOROBAS), reflects the far-reaching scope of UN General Comment 22 on Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4). The General Comment on Article 18 interprets this international rule of law as a guide for peaceful cooperation, respectful competition and resolution of conflicts. See below: General Comment 22 on Article 18, CCPR.
Surely one of the best hopes for 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.
We welcome ideas on how this can be accomplished; firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE TANDEM PROJECT PROPOSALS
Proposals for constructive, long-term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief:
(1) Develop a model
local-national-international integrated approach to human rights and freedom of
religion or belief, appropriate to the cultures of each country, as follow-up to the Universal Periodic Review. See
GENERAL COMMENT ON ARTICLE 18:
2: Note: By
The Tandem Project is a non-governmental organization (NGO) 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 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: email@example.com.
The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations