Freedom of religion must not encroach on other rights, say academics

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THE right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) should not be seen as separate from other human rights, or allowed to infringe on them, campaigners have said.

A group of academics, leaders, and civil-society representatives published an open letter to coincide with Human Rights Day on 10 December.

They write: “We are concerned with political or ideological tendencies that obscure the human-rights nature of FoRB. With this letter, we wish to reaffirm the status of FoRB as a human right, on a par with other human rights and firmly anchored within the broader international human rights system.”

The letter was presented to the public at a virtual event, “Close to Our Hearts: Freedom of religion or belief as a human right”, on Thursday by the Danish Institute for Human Rights. It was followed by another online event, “A Faith Imperative for Human Rights” an hour later, which examined faith, human rights, and gender issues.