2020 ICLRS Symposium: Renata Uitz’s Speech

Renáta Uitz is Professor and Chair (Director) of the Comparative Constitutional Law at the Central European University

In addition to the theme of “Rights and Responsibilities,” the 2020 ICLRS Symposium gave tribute to W. Cole Durham, Jr., founder of ICLRS. Professor Uitz’s remarks were part of that tribute.

I have known Cole Durham for almost two decades. First, I met him in the classroom at Central European University that was still in Budapest. Over the years, we spent a lot of time together at conferences and workshops. And I also had the utmost privilege of seeing him interact with national and international civil servants who were preparing to draft or redraft legislation on church/state relations. I learned a lot from Cole over these years. More importantly, I learned an equally great deal from watching him interact with civil servants, activists, church leaders, and especially watch him when his audience did not want to hear what he said. The lessons I take away from these experiences are applicable amidst crises and across divides. They are, of course, relevant for issues of law and religion, but they are especially instructive for any work on resilience and resistance strategies at an age when illiberal and populist political actors are steadily on the rise. These political actors very often instrumentalize religion to sow the seeds of distrust and discord against minorities, and they use the law very often to demonize and stigmatize others, including religious minorities. Cole’s work allows us to study the law and the workings of the law in comparative perspectives. His work teaches us that we should focus not on a single event, no matter how dramatic or spectacular, but put legal rules into a broader context making sure that we understand the larger trends.


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2020 ICLRS Symposium: President Eyring’s Welcoming Remarks

President Henry B. Eyring

On behalf of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I extend a warm welcome to all who are participating in the 27th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School. This symposium is the world’s premier conference where religious leaders and leading scholars and government authorities come together to discuss global religious freedom issues. Deeper appreciation and understanding of the values of religious freedom for the peoples of the world will be the fruits of this symposium. This year’s topic, Religious Freedom: Rights and Responsibilities, reflects well our faith’s beliefs in the importance of both religious freedom and responsibility in respecting the rights and needs of everyone.


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2020 ICLRS Symposium: Heiner Bielefeld’s Speech

Heiner Bielefeldt is Full Professor of human rights and human rights politics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany

My specific theme today is “responsibility,” responsibility on behalf of religious freedom. I will distinguish between different layers or dimensions of responsibility.

Within the human rights movement, there seems to be some hesitancy to talk about responsibility. Certain governments like to invoke responsibility as “duties to the state” so the enjoyment of human rights becomes dependent on a prior fulfillment of citizens’ duties as defined by those governments. That, of course, can make the status of human rights including religious freedom precarious. Many human rights activists remain cautious in using the vocabulary of “responsibility.” We need a more precise way of addressing responsibility with diligence, precision, and caution but also with enthusiasm. So it is in this spirit that I will distinguish three different levels of responsibility to religious freedom as a human right.


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