Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UN Expert says “Respect the Right to Convert”

November 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles, World News

NEW YORK (ANS) A United Nations (UN) independent expert recently highlighted threats to a key religious human right: conversion, according to Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations for the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) http://nrb.org.

Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

In an NRB media advisory, Mercer writes that Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, declared to the UN General Assembly, “The right of conversion and the right not to be forced to convert or reconvert belong to the internal dimension of a person’s religious or belief-related conviction, which is unconditionally protected under international human rights law.”

The media advisory says that the Special Rapporteur faulted governments, as well as non-state actors acting out on “widespread societal prejudices.”

For example, Bielefeldt noted: “Many States impose tight legislative or administrative restrictions on communicative outreach activities. Many such restrictions are conceptualized and implemented in a flagrantly discriminatory manner, for instance, in the interest of further strengthening the position of the official religion or dominant religion of the country while further marginalizing the situation of minorities. Members of religious communities that have a reputation of being generally engaged in missionary activities may also face societal prejudices that can escalate into paranoia, sometimes even leading to acts of mob violence and killings.

In his accompanying report, Bielefeldt analyzed the right to convert, the right to not be coerced into conversion, the right to seek the conversion of others without force, and the rights of children and parents in conversion.

He urged nations to consistently respect this fundamental right protected under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Bielefeldt is a German professor of human rights and the current Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the UN Human Rights Council.

Bielefeldt has studied philosophy, theology and history, and received his Ph.D. at the Philosophical Faculty at the University of Tübingen. He has been a lecturer and researcher at several German Universities, and was for six years director of the German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin.

Bielefeldt is now serving teaching political science, philosophy, law and history at the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg. Bielefelt has also been involved in interfaith dialogue.

.Find UN Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt’s statement http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12699&LangID=E and full report http://www.crin.org/docs/N1246130.pdf .

.Read more about this subject http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2012/11/united-nations-report-says-religious-conversion-is-violated-human-rights.html .

 

By Michael Ireland
Special Reporter, ASSIST News Service


** Michael Ireland is an Internet Journalist who has served as Chief Correspondent and Senior International Correspondent for ASSIST News Service ASSIST News Service. since 1998. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. Michael’s writing ministry is a sponsored ministry department — ‘Michael Ireland Media Missionary’ (MIMM) — of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International. Michael frequently a ttends the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) and Evangelical Press Association (EPA) conventions where he interviews high profile leaders of missions and ministries across the US and around the world. His stated mission for writing is ‘Truth through Christian communication.’ Please contact Michael for more information. Also, if you have a story idea for Michael, you may write to him at:Writer Mike

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