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Prefatory Note:  The India Universal Periodic Review range of issues is as large and diverse as the nation itself.  The Tandem Project focus here is on the ARCOT KRISHNASWAMI STUDY of India as a follow-up to the India Universal Periodic Review & Freedom of Religion or Belief.  2010  is the fifty year anniversary of the Arcot Krishnaswami Study published in 1960 as the seminal study for U.N. International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The Krishnaswami Study laid the ground work for fifty years of effort by the U.N. in this field. 

The Tandem Project suggests, in commemoration of the Arcot Krishnaswami Study, the U.N.  High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) publish the study in the six languages of the United Nations as a resource document in Human Rights Education (HRE) and consider asking the government of India, in honor of the work of Arcot Krishnaswami of India,  to host a seminar on the Krishnaswami Study as a benchmark study comparing past and present actions and the future of International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief (see bullet point HISTORY and Reflections below).

The Tandem Project in commemoration of the fifty year anniversary of the Krishnaswami Study, calls on the U.N. Human Rights Council to draft an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The U.N. Human Rights Council  in its 14th session  reached consensus on a three year mandate on freedom of religion or  belief and appointed a new U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief (see attachment).

THE TANDEM PROJECT
http://www.tandemproject.com.

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

Separation of Religion or Belief and State

INDIA

First Session U.N. Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (7-18 April, 2008)

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/UPRMain.aspx

If some of the Reports (below) cannot be read open the link (above) open Documentation and type India and hit Go.

UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

Only contributions submitted in one of the United Nations official languages are admissible and posted on this webpage
Date of consideration: Thursday 10 April 2008 - 2.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.

 

National report 1 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

  Corrigendum   :

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 Compilation of UN information 2 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

 

Summary of stakeholders' information 3 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

    

  

Questions submitted in advance

  

Outcome of the review   :

  

Report of the Working group   :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Addendum 1   :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Decision on the outcome   :

A | C | E | F | R | S

   

Draft Report of the eight session of the Human Rights Council   :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Related webcast archives

 

FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

The principle instruments for International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief is Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

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.

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law.
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx

International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief

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, practice and teaching.

No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have a religion or belief of his   choice.

Freedom of 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.

The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education in conformity with their own convictions.

EXCERPTS

ARCOT KRISHNASWAMI STUDY 

Arcot Krishnaswami Study of Discrimination in the Matter of Religious Rights and Practices (U.N. Doc E/CN4/Sub2/200/Rev.1) 1960

The full seventy-four page report can be read by clicking on this link and under Annual Reports scrolling to the bottom of the page and then clicking on the Arcot Krishnaswami Study
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/religion/annual.htm

1960 History Bullet Point: “As instructed by the Sub-Commission, Special Rapporteur Arcot Krishnaswami of India initiated the work on his study by first collecting, analyzing, and then verifying material relating to discrimination in the matter of religious rights and practices. Krishnaswami presented the study to the Sub-Commission at its twelfth session (1960). In the Sub-Commission, the Special Rapporteur was praised for having successfully carried out, ‘with great skill and painstaking care, an exceptionally comprehensive and constructive study which probably would remain for many years as the classic work in an extremely delicate and controversial field, and which would serve as a guide for action by governments, non-governmental organizations and private individuals.”

Arcot Krishnaswami of India was mandated in 1959 by the U.N. Sub-Commission to the Commission on Human Rights to produce a Study of Discrimination in the Matter of Religious Rights and Practices. In the opening Introduction on the Development of the Concept he said: “Truly great religions and beliefs are based upon ethical tenets such as the duty to widen the bounds of good-neighbourliness and the obligation to meet human need in the broadest sense. In view of the difficulty of defining ‘religion’, the term ‘religion or belief’ is used in this study to include, in addition to various theistic creeds, such other beliefs as agnosticism, free thought, atheism and rationalism.”

FORWARD

“It is to be hoped that this report will enable the competent United Nations organs to understand the nature of discrimination with respect to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion so that they may put forward their programme of action to eradicate such discrimination. This report should therefore be considered not as a personal production but as a study having a special purpose. Its primary function is not merely to be read and thought about, but to stimulate constructive action within the international community. The programme of action which flows from the study is in many respects as important as, if not more important than, the analysis of information collected.

The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is probably the most precious of all human rights, and the imperative need today is to make it a reality for every single individual regardless of the religion or belief that he professes, regardless of his status, and regardless of his condition in life. The desire to enjoy this right has already proved itself to be one of the most potent and contagious political forces the world has ever known. But its full realization can come about only when the oppressive action by which it has been restricted in many parts of the world is brought to light, studied, understood and curtailed through cooperative policies; and when methods and means appropriate for the enlargement of this vital freedom are put into effect on the international as well as on the national plane.”

Arcot KRISHNASWAMI
Special Rapporteur
New York
14 October 1959


ARCOT KRISHNASWAMI STUDY
TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD

INTRODUCTION

Development of the concept of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion 1  Recognition of the concept in national law 4 International recognition of the concept 11

I. THE NATURE OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE
AND RELIGION 13

Recognition of freedom of thought, conscience and religion as a legal right 14   Prohibition of any discrimination in respect of the right 15 Distinction between freedom to maintain or to change religion or belief, and freedom to manifest religion or belief 15  The scope of freedom to maintain or to change religion or  belief 16 The scope of freedom to manifest religion or belief . . . . 17   The scope of permissible limitations upon the right to   freedom of thought, conscience and religion 17  Individual and collective aspects of freedom to manifest   religion or belief 20 Public and private aspects of freedom to manifest religion or belief 22    Protection of the freedom of individuals and groups to  manifest their religion or belief against infringement by
other individuals or groups 22         

II. FREEDOM TO MAINTAIN OR TO CHANGE RELIGION OR BELIEF . 24

III. FREEDOM TO MANIFEST RELIGION OR BELIEF 29

A. Freedom to comply with what is prescribed or authorized
by a religion or belief

(i) Worship 31 (ii) Processions 32  (iii) Pilgrimages 32  (iv) Equipment and symbols 33  (v) Arrangements for disposal of the dead 34 (vi) Observance of holidays and days of rest 35 (vii) Dietary practices 36  (viii) Celebration of marriage and its dissolution by   divorce 36  (ix) Celebration of marriage 36 (x) Dissolution of marriage by divorce 38  (xi) Dissemination of religion or belief 39    (xii) Training of personnel 41

B. Freedom from performing acts incompatible with prescriptions
of a religion or belief

(i) Taking of an oath 42 (ii) Military service 43 (iii) Participation in religious or civic ceremonies . . . . 44
(iv) Secrecy of the confession 44  (v) Compulsory prevention or treatment of disease .. 45

IV. THE STATUS OF RELIGIONS IN RELATION TO THE STATE

Juridical relationship between the State and religion . . . 46  Established Church or State religion 46  Recognition of several religions 47  Separation of State and religion 47 Management of religious affairs 48   Financial relationship between the State and religion . . . 51      Duties of public authorities 53

V. TRENDS AND CONCLUSIONS 55

VI. A PROGRAMME FOR ACTION

Introduction 61 Enunciation of basic rules 62 The basic rules 63  Procedure for dealing with the basic rules 66
Draft covenant on civil and political rights 67  The task ahead 69

ANNEXES

I. Draft principles on freedom and non-discrimination in the
matter of religious rights and practices 71
II. How the Study was prepared 74


THE TANDEM PROJECT FOLLOW-UP

  • HISTORY: The United Nations failed to achieve consensus on a legally binding international treaty on religious intolerance, settling instead for the non-binding 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief.

http://www.tandemproject.com/program/history.htm

  • STATISTICS: The United Nations protects all theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. Statistics: builds the case for an    inclusive and genuine approach to implementing human rights and freedom of religion or belief.

http://www.tandemproject.com/program/major_religions.htm

1984:  a co-founder of The Tandem Project represented the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) in 1984 at the two week Geneva Seminar called by the UN Secretariat on how to implement the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. In 1986 The Tandem Project hosted the first International Conference on the 1981 U.N. Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

1986: Minnesota held the first International Conference on how to implement the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Thirty-five international delegates and thirty-five Minnesota delegates were invited. Minnesota organizations and individuals proposed twenty- seven Community Strategies on how to implement the 1981 U.N. Declaration under: Synopsis, Strategy, Objectives, Program Approach, Obstacles and Outcomes. These Community Strategies can be read on the following link:
 
Minnesota Community Strategieshttp://www.tandemproject.com/tolerance.pdf

2010: there are three generic proposals on Integration, Dialogue and Education that have been consolidated from the 1986 strategies on how to implement International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Think global act local.  

  • 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.
  • 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.   
  • 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.

“Our educational systems need to provide children with a broad orientation: from the very beginning, children should be taught 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.” 2006- Mr. Piet de Klerk:  Ambassador-at-Large of the Netherlands on Human Rights.

Reflections

The First Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads: 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 human rights sensitively and with respect trumps culture in the face of this historical truth.

  • QUESTION: Human nature is intractable as weapons of mass destruction increase with national-ethnic-religious justification. The U.N.  Review Conference on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and studies on the use of biological and cyber weapons demonstrate this trend as a growing concern. The question is whether present International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief is enough or if a core human rights treaty on freedom of religion or belief, supported at a higher level, would reduce the risk of using weapons of mass destruction. Synergy meaning each is incapable of acting alone on this issue needs to be considered by the U.N. Security Council and U.N. Human Rights Council.

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:  India – Universal Periodic Review & Freedom of Religion or Belief; Arcot Krishnaswami Study Forward; 2008 Visit to India - SR on Freedom of Religion or Belief Conclusions & Recommendations; Exchange of Information – India Organizations & Individuals; 2010 Consensus Reached on Freedom of Religion or Belief.