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

Universal Periodic Review reports in six languages

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/ecsession1.aspx

If reports below blue bar do not open, click to access these reports in the master link above

Universal Periodic Review - Ecuador

Only contributions submitted in one of the United Nations official languages are admissible and posted on this webpage

Date of consideration: Monday 7 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

Questions submitted in advance

Outcome of the review :

Report of the Working group :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Corrigendum :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Decision on the outcome :

E only

Report of the eight session of the Human Rights Council :

A|C| E | F | R | S

Related webcast archives

Main Country Page: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/ECIndex.aspx
Inter-active Dialoguehttp://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/ECWebArchives.aspx


BACKGROUND HUMAN RIGHTS & FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

Ecuador Universal Periodic Review in April 2008 as Preparation for Ecuador Universal Periodic Review in April 2012. This is NOT a submission to the UN for the 2012 Universal Periodic Review.

Prep for 2nd Cycle 13th Session – UPR & Freedom of 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.


REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP – RECOMMENDATIONS  RELATING DIRECTLY TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

There were 33 delegation statements in the 2008 Ecuador Universal Periodic Review and 10 recommendations. The only Statement relating directly to freedom of religion or belief, #41 by the Holy See asked for information on the right to life. No recommendations related directly to freedom of religion or belief.

http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G08/133/24/PDF/G0813324.pdf?OpenElement


REPORTS OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomReligion/Pages/FreedomReligionIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief has not made a visit to Ecuador.


CONSTITUTION OF ECUADOR

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ecuador

The separation of state and religion is since 1986 guaranteed.

The Ecuadorian Constitution of 1998 includes two articles providing for freedom of worship:

  • Art. 23: States, among others that "all people are legally born free and equal and that they will not be discriminated on the basis of religion". It guarantees also the freedom of religion. "Freedom of religion is guaranteed. Every individual has the right to freely profess his/her religion and to disseminate it individually or collectively. All religious faiths and churches are equally free before the law." The right to declare or not about ones religious affiliation is also guaranteed.
  • Art. 81: Prohibits publicity that encourages violence, racism, sexism, religious or political intolerance.

Since the Spanish colonization, Ecuador became a Roman Catholic country. The Catholic Church had and still has an important place in the Ecuadorian government and society. After the Constitution of 1869, the official religion became Catholicism[1] and only Catholics could obtain citizenship. In 1899, the liberal government of Alfaro made a new constitution which respected all religions and guaranteed freedom of religious choice. The public education became free of religious influence. Nevertheless, private catholic schools still existed. Monsignor Antonio José Cardinal González Zumárraga is the emeritus Archbishop of Quito. He is in charge of the Ecuadorian Catholic Church. The Apostolic Nuncio to Ecuador is Giacomo Guido Ottonello.[2]


CULTURE OF TOLERANCE AND PEACE BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF

ADOPTED BY CONSENSUS WITHOUT A VOTE

United Nations Resolution – a Culture of Tolerance & Peace Based  on Religion or Belief

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.

One best hope is Resolution A/HRC/16/18/L.47, a Culture of Tolerance and Peace, introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the UN Human Rights Council and adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly as A/RES/66/147 on 19 December 2011. 

Introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference  (OIC)  adopted by consensus without a vote. - Resolution A/HRC/16/18/L.38, Geneva, March 24 2011

Recognizes that the open public debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue at the local, national and international levels can be among the best protections against religious intolerance, and can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious hatred, and convinced that a continuing dialogue on these issues can help overcome existing misperceptions.

Calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and diversity of religions and beliefs, and decides to convene a panel discussion on this issue at its seventeenth session within existing resources.

Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC) Mr. Zamir Akram  [English] 10 minutes Saudi Arabia Mr. Ahmed Suleiman Ibrahim Alaquil  [English] [Arabic] 1 minute Norway Ms. Beate Stirø [English] 2 minutes United States of America Mr. Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe [English] 5 minutes Hungary (on behalf of the European Union) Mr. András Dékány  [English] 3 minutes

UN Human Rights Council Panel Statements, Resolution A-HRC-16-18, 2010 General Assembly Third Committee Actions

Introduced by United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) adopted by consensus without a vote – Resolution A/C.3/66/L.47, New York, 15 November 2011

                 UN Third Committee Press Release - Resolution L.47 Adopted by Consensus

                http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/C.3/66/L.47/Rev.1

The Resolution identified as A/RES/66/147 by the General Assembly welcomes the establishment of the “King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural dialogue in Vienna, initiated by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on the  basis of purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and acknowledging the important role that this Centre is expected to play as a platform for the enhancement of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.” 


FOCUS GROUPS ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

ISSUES & CHALLENGES 

Focus Groups on Freedom of Religion or Belief will exchange best practice models at a local level on how to implement United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/147.

In 1984 the United Nations Secretariat sponsored a two week Geneva Seminar on ways to implement the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief, Seminar on the Encouragement of Understanding, Tolerance and Respect in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief (1984) ST/HR/SER. A/16 Geneva.  In 1986 The Tandem Project hosted the first International Conference, Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief,  on how to implement the 1981 UN Declaration.

Discussion included ways to promote tolerance for diversity of religion or belief at a local level. The Bishop of the American Lutheran Church introduced the speaker on Atheism and the 1981 UN Declaration, and an Atheist introduced the speaker on Theism and the 1981 UN Declaration. 27 Community Strategies were presented on how to implement the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief at a local level.   

1986 International Conference: Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief

http://www.tandemproject.com/tolerance.pdf


SEPARATION OF RELIGION OR BELIEF AND STATE

Separation of Religion or Belief and State is a term used by The Tandem Project to express core principles of international human rights law on freedom of religion or belief. UN Member States are mandated with or without separation of religion or belief and state to ensure their constitutional and legal systems provide effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief to all without distinction at international, national and local levels.

UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE    

International human rights law on freedom of religion or belief protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief, - General Comment 22 on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not favor one religion or belief over another. Human Rights Law protects all individuals from discrimination based on religion or belief. It values the equal rights of majority and minority religions or beliefs, indigenous, traditional and new religious movements. It is a universal moral principle.

GOAL

The right of persons to manifest their own values, cultural identity and core principles based on religion or belief, together with human rights law, principles and values on freedom of religion or belief.

Build awareness, understanding and support at international, national and local levels for a UN Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief as a legally-binding international human rights treaty. 

      HISTORY

In 1968 the United Nations deferred passage of a legally-binding convention on religious intolerance saying it was too complicated and sensitive. http://www.tandemproject.com/program/history.htm

In 1981 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. http://www.tandemproject.com/program/81_dec.htm.

In 1998 the Oslo Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief was the catalyst a for change of title from Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance to Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

  1998 UN Conference Report

The Tandem Project believes until a core legally-binding human rights Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief  is adopted international human rights law will be incomplete.


FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

U.S. State Department 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, Ecuador

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2010/148753.htm

Excerpt

“In 1937 the government entered into an official legal agreement with the Holy See called the Modus Vivendi, which grants the Catholic Church privileges such as official passports for clergy and state funding of churches and schools. Non-Catholic religious groups criticized the use of taxpayer money to fund exclusively Catholic projects because comparable funding was not provided for their organizations.

Some religious groups have chosen not to comply with the 2008 presidential decree requiring NGOs to register with the government. The government states that the purpose of the decree is to ensure fiscal responsibility with regard to government funding. A few religious groups believe the government could use the registration process to exert excessive control, while others find the requirement to list members to be excessive and a violation of a citizen's right to practice freely.”

Complete 2010 Report

November 17, 2010

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

The government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.
There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 109,483 square miles and a population of 14.8 million. The Roman Catholic Church estimates 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic, with 15 percent of the population actively practicing. As during the previous reporting period, the Catholic Church estimates that attendance at Mass rose slightly due to increased proselytizing. Some groups, particularly indigenous persons who live in the highlands, follow a syncretic form of Catholicism that combines indigenous beliefs with orthodox Catholic doctrine. In the Amazon jungle region, Catholic practices often are combined with elements of shamanism.

Estimates of the number of non-Catholic Christians start at one million. Southern Baptists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, and Pentecostals find converts among persons who practice syncretic religions, particularly among indigenous people in the highland provinces of Chimborazo, Bolivar, Cotopaxi, Imbabura, and Pichincha, and in other groups marginalized by society. Evangelical groups include the Assemblies of God, in urban areas, and the Church of the Word of God, which is growing rapidly in indigenous areas. Rural indigenous areas tend to be either overwhelmingly Catholic or overwhelmingly Protestant. Protestant organizations were usually divided between predominantly indigenous organizations, such as the Council of Evangelical Indigenous People and Organizations, and mestizo organizations. Many mestizos in the Guayaquil area are Protestant. In large cities, Protestant megachurches with more than 10,000 members continued to experience substantial growth. Hundreds of evangelical churches exist, many of which are not affiliated with a particular denomination. Some multidenominational Christian groups, such as the Gospel Missionary Union, now called Avant Ministries, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and Hoy Cristo Jesús Bendice (Today Jesus Christ Blesses), have been active for decades.

Many registered religious groups, including Anglicans, Baha'is, Buddhists, Episcopalians, Jews, Lutherans, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox believers, Presbyterians, Unification Church members, and followers of Inti, the traditional Inca sun god, have few members.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

The constitution took effect in 2008. It includes provisions for freedom of religion, as did the prior constitution. The constitution grants all citizens and foreigners the right to practice publicly and freely the religion of their choice and prohibits discrimination based on religion.

The 1937 Law of Worship requires religious groups to register with the Ministry of Interior. To register, a religious organization must possess a charter; have nonprofit status; include in its application all names used by the group to ensure that names of previously registered groups are not used without their permission; and provide signatures of at least 15 members, typically leaders of the organization. In addition, Presidential Decree 982 from 2008 requires all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including churches and other religious groups, to register with the government. All nonprofit organizations, including more than 2,200 registered religious groups, are required to report on the expenditure of any government funding received. The Ministry of Interior convened discussions with religious leaders to address their concerns about the Law of Worship and the presidential decree.

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Carnival, Good Friday, All Souls' Day, and Christmas.

The government does not generally permit religious instruction in public schools. Private schools may provide religious instruction, as many parents in the home.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.

In 1937 the government entered into an official legal agreement with the Holy See called the Modus Vivendi, which grants the Catholic Church privileges such as official passports for clergy and state funding of churches and schools. Non-Catholic religious groups criticized the use of taxpayer money to fund exclusively Catholic projects because comparable funding was not provided for their organizations.

Some religious groups have chosen not to comply with the 2008 presidential decree requiring NGOs to register with the government. The government states that the purpose of the decree is to ensure fiscal responsibility with regard to government funding. A few religious groups believe the government could use the registration process to exert excessive control, while others find the requirement to list members to be excessive and a violation of a citizen's right to practice freely.

Catholic leaders affirmed that the problem of restricted access to the Galapagos Islands in recent years due to ecological concerns had been resolved.

Abuses of Religious Freedom

On November 13, 2009, the National Court of Justice upheld the 16-year sentences of three men for the murder of a traditional healer. In 2006 two military officers, Ivan Santi Mucushigua and Cervantes Santamaría Cuji, and a civilian, Lucio Cirilo Dahua, allegedly killed Balti Cadena, a traditional healer (yachak), and injured one of his sons near the Amazonas Military Fort in Puyo, Pastaza Province. In 2007 the public prosecutor in the civilian Pastaza Province Criminal Tribunal ruled it was competent to decide the case, found the men guilty of murder, and imposed a sentence of 16 years on each of them. The defendants appealed the decision to a higher tribunal, the National Court of Justice, before 2008 known as the Supreme Court of Justice of Ecuador.

There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees in the country.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion.

Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. U.S. embassy officials discussed religious freedom with local and visiting leaders representing a broad spectrum of religious groups.


REFLECTIONS

The Tandem Project

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 use of nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction increases. Governments need to consider whether religions and other beliefs trump human rights or human rights trump religions and other beliefs or neither trumps the other. Can international human rights law help to stop the advance and use of such weapons in the face of this historic truth?

  • QUESTION: Weapons of mass destruction as history teaches are often legitimized for national security and justified by cultural, ethnic, religious or political ideology. The U.N. Review Conference on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and studies on biological and cyber weapons demonstrate advances in science and technology is being used to increase their potential for mass destruction. The question is whether an International Convention on Human Rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief, elevated and supported equally by the U.N. Human Rights Council and U.N. Security Council, would help offset the risk of weapons of mass destruction. Recognition of the need for synergy to balance rights and security is a foundation for solving this issue.

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”

- Robert Oppenheimer, quote from the Bhagavad Gita after exploding the first atomic bomb, Trinity 1945.

The Tandem Project believes until a core legally-binding human rights Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief  is adopted international human rights law will be incomplete. It may be time to begin to consider reinstating the 1968 Working Group to bring all matters relating to freedom of religion or belief under one banner, a core international human rights legally-binding treaty.


The Tandem Project a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1986 to build understanding, tolerance, and respect for diversity of religion or belief, and to prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference material 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.

Document Attached: Rights & Beliefs