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THE TANDEM PROJECT

http://www.tandemproject.com.
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UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

Separation of Religion or Belief and State

MOROCCO 

First Session U.N. Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (30 Nov. – 11 Dec. 2009)

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

UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW


If some of the reports below do not open click on this link, or: Related webcast archives

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/MASession1.aspx


Only contributions submitted in one of the United Nations official languages are admissible and posted on this webpage
Date of consideration: Tuesday 8 April 2008 - 3.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.

 

National report 1 :

 A | C | E | F | R | S

  

 Compilation of UN information 2 :

 A | C | E | F | R | S

             

Summary of stakeholders' information 3 :

 A | C | E | F | R | S

Corrigendum   :

 A | C | E | F | RS

               

 

Questions submitted in advance

 

   

Outcome of the review   :

 

Report of the Working group   :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Corrigendum   :

A | CE | F | RS

Decision on the outcome   :

E only

   

Report of the eight session of the Human Rights Council   :

A | C | E | FR | S

    

Related webcast archives

Flag of Morocco 

 

Stop Preaching or Get Out
The Economist July 31st 2010

Fez: The king is un-amused by Christians who proselytize.

Evangelical Christians in the poor world are rarely accused of undermining public order. All the more surprising, then, that in recent months around a hundred have been deported from Morocco for just that. The Christians, mostly from the United States and Europe, have been accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, a crime punishable by imprisonment under Moroccan law, which  protects the freedom to practice one’s faith but forbids any attempt to convert others.

Rules against proselytizing are quite common in Muslim countries but Morocco has long enjoyed a reputation as a bastion of religious tolerance in the region. Almost all the country’s 32 million citizens are Sunni Muslims but churches and synagogues exist, alongside mosques, to cater for the 1% of the people who are Christian or Jewish. 
Such open-mindedness presumably appealed to the Christian missionaries who ran the “Village of Hope” home for children 80km (50 miles) south of Fez, a former capital known for religion and scholarship. The 16 aid-workers had cared for abandoned children for over a decade when, in March, the Moroccan authorities sent inspectors to the orphanage, then gave the workers a few days notice to leave the country. Witnesses reports distraught farewells between the Moroccan children and the foreigners who had acted as foster parents.

Morocco’s communications minister, Khaled Naciri, said the missionaries “took advantage of the poverty of some families and targeted their young children.” The aid-workers deny pumping the children with Christianity. But sympathizers say that even if they did, a few hours of preaching was a small price to pay for education and pastoral care. There have been further expulsions since then, most recently of an evangelical Spanish teacher.

Local residents are quick to point out that it is not only Christians who have been targets; last year a similar campaign was waged against Morocco’s even smaller population of Shia Muslims. But the motivation for the crackdown is probably political more than religious. Morocco’s constitution is based on the hereditary position of the king as “commander of the faithful”. Any drift of Muhammad VI’s subjects away from the dominant stream of moderate Sunni Islam might, his advisers fear, diminish his authority.

The American branch of evangelical organization, Open Doors, which speaks up for persecuted Christians across the world, is backing a campaign by a Republican congressman, Frank Wolf, to press the Moroccans to be kinder to the evangelicals. Seeing that Morocco is one of America’s closest Arab allies the American administration has been notably silent.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

The principal 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.

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 seems 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: Morocco - Universal Periodic Review & Freedom of Religion or Belief; Morocco - Forum for Academic Discourse on Human Rights & Proselytism; Consensus Reached - 2010 Mandate on Freeedom of Religion or Belief.