Freedom of Religion and Belief for Everyone Everywhere: Lessons Learned and Good Practices

Brett G. Scharffs is Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Rex E. Lee Chair and Professor of Law at  Brigham Young University Law School. This post is adapted from a presentation made 20 February 2020 in Washington, DC, at the Special Meeting to Share Lessons Learned and Exchange Good Practices to Advance a Regional Dialogue on the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Permanent Council of the Organization of American States.

The need for “climate change” in human rights discourse

Ján Figeľ, the European Union’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, speaks often of the need for “climate change” in our human rights discourse. Why is this? Today, our contemporary human rights discourse is more divisive and politicized than it ought to be. In addition, sometimes human rights seem too imperial, as if they are going to solve every problem. At other times, they seem quite fragile and vulnerable, subject to a variety of types of criticism and condemnation. And so, I think it is true that we really do need “climate change” in our human rights discourse. (more…)

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Human Dignity: Building Understanding

Donlu DeWitt Thayer is a Senior Fellow of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Co-Editor of this blog.

In December 2018 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, at the easternmost edge of the South American contintent, a conference was convened under the auspices of the European Academy of Religion, with the leadership of Slovak statesman Ján Figel’, Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief Outside the European Union, and with the support of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School in the United States. The event brought together three dozen scholars, jurists, and religious and civic leaders to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by developing “an invitation to a global conversation about preserving and protecting human dignity for everyone everywhere.” Following upon discussions, preparatory events,  and draft manuscripts made during 2018, the culminating work of the Punta del Este gathering was a document with universal implications:  The Punta del Este Declaration on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere. (more…)

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Beyond equality: How should we aid survivors of genocide?

Ewelina Ochab makes the case for why sometimes equality is not sufficient. The survivors of genocide require priority. The concept of human dignity can be a guideline in the application of equality or equity based intervention, and leads to emphasising prevention over subsequent humanitarian aid.

This talk was presented on 1st June 2019 at TEDxGoodenoughCollege – eQuality. (more…)

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