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Now is the Time

 

 
 

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION: LUTHERANS

The Tandem Project measures group and individual awareness and understanding of international human rights law on freedom of religion or belief at international, national and local levels. The 1981 UN Declaration, article 2 says “no one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons or persons on grounds of religion or other beliefs.”  The Tandem Project uses a broad definition of “group” to include States, institutions, religions or other beliefs and smaller groups within those broad categories for an Exchange of Information as a follow-up to Universal Periodic Reviews.


Preface – The First Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 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.

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.

There is an increase in dialogue today between religions and other beliefs to embrace diversity, but few persons, less than one percent of any population, ever participate. This is a challenge. The value of such dialogues is proportionate to the level of participation. For civil society increased participation would create opportunities for education on inclusive and genuine approaches to human rights and freedom of religion or belief. 

 In 1968 the United Nations deferred passage of a legally-binding convention on religious intolerance saying it was too complicated and sensitive. Instead, they adopted a non-binding declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief. While very worthwhile, the declaration does not carry the force and commitment of a legally-binding international human rights convention on freedom of religion or belief.

Religions and other beliefs historically have been used to justify wars and settle disputes. This is more dangerous today as the possible misuse of nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction increases. Governments need to revisit whether religions and other beliefs trump human rights or human rights trump religions and other beliefs or neither trumps the other; whether culture trumps the universal or universal rights sensitively and with respect trumps culture in the face of this historical truth.



THE TANDEM PROJECT

UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
 FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

PROPOSAL: This is a request to Lutheran organizations to exchange information on human rights and freedom of religion or belief as a model vertical approach from international to national and local levels. TO: Lutheran World Federation, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, St. Paul Are Synod of the Evangelical Church in America, Augsburg College of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, to provide information for preparation of the United States of America Universal Periodic Review.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Ninth Session U.N. Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (22Nov-3Dec, 2010)

UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

The United States of America Universal Periodic Review will be held by the UN Human Rights Council on Friday 26 November from 9:00 -12:00.  Open this link to access reports for the United States of America Universal Periodic Review: National Report; Compilation prepared by OHCHR; Summary prepared by OHCHR; Interactive Dialogue; Comments & Answers; Final Remarks.

HRC Web Cast: Friday 26 November 2010.
Ninth Session Archives: Tuesday 30 November 2010
http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process launched by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008 to review the human rights obligations and responsibilities of all UN Member States by 2011. Click for an Introduction to the Universal Periodic Review, Process and News:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BasicFacts.aspx

THE TANDEM PROJECT FOLLOW-UP

The Tandem Project Follow-up builds on twenty-seven Community Strategies, action proposals by organizations in 1986 to implement Article 18 of the CCPR and the 1981 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief: http://www.tandemproject.com/tolerance.pdf

These Community Strategies are consolidated for The Tandem Project Follow-up into three generic proposals on integration, dialogue and education for Universal Periodic Reviews and exchange of information worldwide with organizations on international, national and local levels.

1. Develop model integrated approaches to International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief at national and local levels to test the reality of implementation as appropriate to the constitutions, legal systems and cultures of each country.

2. Use International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief as appropriate to each culture and venue for inclusive and genuine dialogue on freedom of religion or belief.  

3. Apply International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief in education curricula as appropriate in all grade levels, teaching children, from the very beginning, that their own religion is one out of many and 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.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

The U.S. State Department does not do an annual International Religious Freedom report on its own country. The Tandem Project will use the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief 1998 report as a base indicator for a perspective on the United States of America

Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief: 1998 Visit to the United States of America (E/CN.4/1998/6/Add.2). http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/religion/index.htm
General Comment 22 on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9a30112c27d1167cc12563ed004d8f15?Opendocument

The 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief http://www.tandemproject.com/program/81_dec.htm.

SURVEY

Results from this Questionnaire will be used in follow-up recommendations to UN Member States Universal Periodic Reviews, and reports to the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), for protection against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief and as an Exchange of Information with other stakeholders. 

There are nine categories of organizations to measure the impact of human rights law on freedom of religion or belief at international, national and local levels. Please take a few minutes to open the questionnaire, check category/s that apply to your organization or the individual box if answering personally, check yes/no to the 40 questions and submit. 

OPEN QUESTIONNAIRE

Thank you for taking a few minutes to reply. 
Michael M. Roan
Executive Director,
The Tandem Project
mroan@tandemproject.com.

Indicators are used to measure inclusive and genuine approaches to human rights and freedom of religion or belief. They are: theism, non-theism, atheism, not belief, awareness, understanding, acceptance, cooperation, competition, conflict, respect, taboos and clarity.

The indicators are in the Questionnaire and measure the approach by groups and persons; not the impact of these human rights on development, education, children, women, etc. Governments, non-governmental organizations, religious places of worship, media, corporations, civic clubs, individuals, etc., as an example, are selected for a proposal and invited to exchange ideas on inclusive and genuine approaches to human rights and freedom of religion or belief using these and other international human rights instruments.

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.

Attachments: United States - Universal Periodic Review & Freedom of Religion or Belief