Human Rights Council: Upholding the right to freedom of religion or belief

Representatives from more than ten different religions gather at an interfaith service in Garnethill Synagogue, Glasgow, on the opening day of a United Nations climate change conference. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert
Representatives from more than ten different religions gather at an interfaith service in Garnethill Synagogue, Glasgow, on the opening day of a United Nations climate change conference. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Protecting the safety and security of minorities

(LWI) - At the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in partnership with the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) expressed concern about legislation and socio-cultural movements that hinder peaceful coexistence among people of different religions and beliefs.

The statement highlighted how public rhetoric, especially on social media, by ethnoreligious centric voices increasingly articulate exclusionary interpretations of the right to freedom of religion or belief and perpetrate discrimination.

The LWF and WCRC called on member states to recognize that the freedom of religion or belief is centered in justice and safeguarding civic space for safe, constructive, and courageous dialogue among religious, civic, state, and academic stakeholders.


Statement of the Lutheran World Federation

The Lutheran World Federation and its ecumenical partner, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, thank the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive report.

We remain deeply concerned by legislation and socio-cultural movements that hinder peaceful coexistence among people of different religions and beliefs influenced by majority and minority dynamics in countries such as Denmark, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and the United States of America.

We have also observed increasing public rhetoric especially on social media by ethnoreligious centric voices articulating exclusionary interpretations of the right to freedom of religion or belief that perpetrate discrimination against sexual minorities, attack on human right defenders, and downplay the urgency of addressing the climate crises especially from the voices of marginalized indigenous peoples.

We therefore call on member states to recognize that the freedom of religion or belief is located in justice and to safeguard civic space for safe, constructive, and courageous dialogue among religious leaders and youth leaders as well as policy makers.

We encourage the Special Rapporteur to continue his efforts and to facilitate further multi-stakeholder consultations with a stronger youth leadership component. This will ensure that the right to religious freedom or belief is not instrumentalized in ways that undermine the safety and security of minorities.


Read Full Statement (PDF)

 

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