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Transcript
THE TANDEM PROJECT
www.tandemproject.com
United Nations Human Rights Committee
c/o Secretariat of the Human Rights Committee
Palais Wilson, United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Committee Members:
This is an NGO Specific Concern for adoption of a List of Issues by the Human Rights
Committee, to the Government of the United States of America in October 2005. The
Tandem Project Specific Concern relates to Article 18 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
This concern is raised in a review of public communications between the U.N. Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Government of the United States of
America, in a report to the 61st Meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights
(E/CN.4/2005/61/Add.1). See attached Word Document file for the review.
The Tandem Project respectfully suggests that the Government of the United States of
America may wish to review their reservation to Article 20 of the ICCPR, “incitement to
religious hatred”, which is based on a violation of First Amendment rights to freedom of
expression, in light of recent events.
Sincerely yours,
Michael M. Roan
The Tandem Project
Article 18: Issue of Concern
The Government of the United States of America appears to lack coordination and
synthesis between international reports on Article 18 of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) relating to freedom of religion or belief, and
national reports on related First Amendment issues by United States Government
departments and agencies. This lack of synthesis of international and national civil
and human rights reports is detrimental to state and local governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), within the United States, who want to address
the relationship of international to national issues on freedom of religion or belief at
state and local levels.
THE TANDEM PROJECT
LEARNING MODULE
Utilizing the 1981 U.N. Declaration for Community
Assessment Reports on Freedom of Religion or Belief
www.tandemproject.com
THE 1981 U.N. DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF
INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
________________________________________________________________________
The Tandem Project Learning Module reviews a report or media story by Eight Articles,
Paragraphs and Terms of the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of all
forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. This breakout
makes possible systemic data collection, research on root causes of intolerance and
discrimination based on religion or belief, and information sharing between cultures,
countries and communities. The Tandem Project Human Rights Education Manual,
Monitoring Freedom of Religion or Belief: Equal Rights by Separation of Religion or
Belief and the State is a Human Rights Education Manual for local units of government
with populations under 100,000, as a guide for writing Community Assessment Reports
on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Text of the 1981 U.N. Declaration is in italics, the
Review and Learning Module Answers are in bold.
________________________________________________________________________
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
This is a Review of communications between the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom
of Religion or Belief and her predecessor, and the Government of the United States of
America, as reported to the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
Excerpts of her report are reviewed below as a lesson on how to breakout a report by the
Eight Articles of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The full
report of the communications between the U.N. Special Rapportuer and the Government
of the United States of America can be found on the U.N. Office of High Commissioner
for Human Rights Website, www.ohchr.org. Open to Issues and then U.N. Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief (E/CN.4/2005/61.Add.1.)
1. REVIEW
On 28 June 2004, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a communication to the
Government of the United States of America in connection with information
received according to which acts of religious intolerance against Muslims and their
religion had continued to occur throughout the country. In particular, it was
reported a number of hate crimes coincided with a rise in Islamophobic rhetoric in
the public discourse in the United States.
In this connection, the Special Rapporteur provided the following illustrations of
alleged incidents whereby public persons or professionals of the media had
portrayed or criticized Islam in ways that could constitute incitement to religious
hatred as prohibited by article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.
The United States response was as follows: “According to the Governments
response, statements allegedly made by individuals criticizing Islam, such as those
statements referred to by the Special Rapporteur, are not illegal under United
States Law. Even where the United States Government finds the content of such
expression to be misguided and repugnant, the Constitution mandates that the
Government neither prohibit nor regulate speech merely as a result of disapproval
of the ideas expressed. The Government’s preferred approach to addressing hate
speech is to confront it openly, to denounce it and to promote tolerance and similar
ideals through competing speech.”
The communication by the Special Rapporteur on 2 June 2003 reported several
alleged specific incidents of discrimination involving assaults by a group of
teenagers, attacks on places of worship and employment discrimination.
By letter dated 25 March 2004, the Government of the United States of America
provided the following information in response to a communication sent by the
Special Rapporteur on 2 June 2003. The Government stated that “the Special
Rapporteur did not provide the source of the information, or in some cases,
sufficient details about the allegations, to allow the United States to comment
directly upon the specific claims.”
The Department of Justice reported in detail on the number of offences in the years
following 9/11 and in detail on several specific cases reported by the Special
Rapporteur. The case against a group of teenagers in 2003 in California, and against
four individuals planned attack on a place of worship in New York both went to
court under the United States Criminal and Civil Justice systems
The United States Government response: “Responding to negative comments on
Islam allegedly made by an official of the Defense Department, the Inspector
General of the Defense Department has opened an inquiry.” There was no specific
response concerning alleged remarks against Islam made by an elected official.
With regard to the allegations of employment discrimination, the Government
indicated that between 11 September 2001 and 11 February 2004, the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 904 charges by individuals
alleging that they were victims of backlash discrimination. The EEOC has recovered
over $2.2 million in monetary benefits. This is for individuals aggrieved by post-9/11
Discrimination in employment through its enforcement, mediation, conciliation and
litigation efforts. The EEOC Commission is a five-member body that enforces Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The United States provided information from the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor and Department of Justice in response
to alleged employment discrimination. EEOC District directors met with groups
such as the Council on Islamic Relations and the Arab-American League. District
offices in New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas initiated special
events and made mass mailings.
In conclusion, the Government stated that “it values the diversity of its population.
Tolerance and respect for all peoples have been the foundation of American society.
The United States will continue to be steadfast in the fight against racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, both at home and abroad. As
shown above, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission and other federal, state, and local agencies are working
together to take tough measures to combat crimes and all forms of discrimination
and to ensure that all religious liberties remain protected.”
2. DECLARATION
THE 1981 U.N. DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF
INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
ARTICLE 1: PARAGRAPH 1.1.
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right
shall include freedom to have a religion or belief of their choice, and freedom either
individually or in community with others, and in private or public to manifest their
religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
1.1.1: Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
1.1.2: This right shall include freedom to have a religion or belief of their choice.
1.1.3: This right shall include freedom individually, in community, in public or private.
1.1.4: This includes the right to manifest a religion or belief in worship, observance,
practice and teaching.
ARTICLE 1: PARAGRAPH 1.2.
No one shall be subject to coercion, which would impair their freedom to have a religion
or belief of their choice.
1.2.1: Coercion
1.2.2: Impairment
1.2.3: Choice
ARTICLE 1: PARAGRAPH 1.3.
Freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as
are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect the public safety, order, morals, or
the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
1.3.1: Law
1.3.2: Public Safety
1.3.3: Order
1.3.4: Health
1.3.5: Morals
1.3.6: Fundamental Freedoms
On 28 June 2004, the Special Rapporteur “transmitted a communication to the
Government of the United States in connection with information received according
to which acts of religious intolerance against Muslims and their religion had
continued throughout the country. In particular, it was reported that a number of
hate crimes coincided with a rise in Islamophobic rhetoric in public discourse in the
United States.” The Special Rapporteur provided illustrations of alleged incidents
whereby public persons or professionals of the media had portrayed or criticized
Islam in ways that could constitute incitement to religious hatred as prohibited by
Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The United
States replied these incidents were not a violation of Article 20 of the ICCPR and
that the United States had made a reservation to Article 20 when it became a
signatory to the ICCPR to protect “freedom of expression under the First
Amendment of the Constitution.”
ARTICLE 2: PARAGRAPH 2.1.
No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, groups of persons or
person on grounds of religion or belief.
2.1.1: No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State.
2.1.2: No one shall be subject to discrimination by any Institution.
The Special Rapporteur communicated an alleged act or corporate institutional
discrimination by the Alamo Car Rental Corporation, denying an individual
employment based on her refusal to take off a headscarf in keeping with the rites of
her religion.
2.1.3: No one shall be subject to discrimination by any Groups of Persons.
The communications by the Special Rapporteur on 2 June 2003 reported several
incidents of discrimination involving assaults by a group of teenagers, attacks on
places of worship and employment discrimination. There was an attack by four
individuals on a place of worship in New York and another by a group in Florida.
2.1.4: No one shall be subject to discrimination by any Person.
On 4 March 2004 a media personality “allegedly remarked that being nice to people
is, in fact, one of the tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose
tenets are more along the lines of ‘kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and doesn’t
answer to the name Mohammed.” Illustrations were provided in the
communications of incidents where media personalities could constitute an
incitement to religious hatred. There was an inquiry started by the Inspector
General of the Defense Department concerning alleged remarks against Islam made
by a military officer.
ARTICLE 2: PARAGRAPH 2.2.
For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression “intolerance and
discrimination based on religion or belief’ means any distinction, exclusion, restriction,
or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect
nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and
fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.
2.2.1: Intolerance
2.2.2: Discrimination
ARTICLE 3: PARAGRAPH 3.1.
Discrimination between human beings on grounds of religion or belief constitutes an
affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United
Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental
freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in
detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly
and peaceful relations between nations.
3.1.1: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The United States of America responded to alleged incidents of discrimination by
individuals by saying such statements referred to by the Special Rapporteur as hate
crimes under Article 20 of the ICCPR are not illegal under United States Law. The
U.S. Constitution mandates that the Government neither prohibit nor regulate
speech merely as a result of disapproval of the ideas expressed.
3.1.2: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
3.1.3: Regional Human Rights Instruments
3.1.4: Other Human Rights Instruments
ARTICLE 4: PARAGRAPH 4.1.
All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on
grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights
and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural
life.
4.1.1: Are there effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on grounds
of religion or belief in the field of civil life?
4.1.2: Are there effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on grounds
of religion or belief in the field of economic life?
4.1.3: Are there effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on grounds
of religion or belief in the field of political life?
4.1.4: Are there effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on grounds
of religion or belief in the field of social life?
The United States provided information from the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor and Department of Justice in response
to alleged employment allegations. EEOC District directors met with groups such as
the Council on Islamic Relations and the Arab-American League, in EEOC District
offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas and initiated
special events and mass mailings.
4.1.5: Are there effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on grounds
of religion or belief in the field of cultural life?
The Government responded by saying “they value diversity of its population.
Tolerance and respect for all peoples have been the foundation of American
society.”
ARTICLE 4: PARAGRAPH 4.2.
All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to
prohibit any such discrimination, and to make all appropriate measures to combat
intolerance on grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.
4.2.1: Enact and rescind legislation and regulations where necessary.
4.2.2: Make all appropriate measures to combat intolerance.
ARTICLE 5: PARAGRAPH 5.1.
5.1.1: The parents, or as the case may be, the legal guardians of the child have the right
to organize the life within the family in accordance with their religion or belief and
bearing in mind the moral education in which they believe the child shall be brought up.
5.1.2: Every child shall enjoy the right to have access to education in the matter of
religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents or, as the case may be,
legal guardians, and shall not be compelled to receive teaching on religion or belief
against the wishes of his parents or legal guardians, the best interests of the child being
the guiding principle.
5.1.3: The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on grounds of
religion or belief. He/she shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance,
friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, respect for freedom of
religion or belief of others, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should
be devoted to the service of his/her fellow men/women.
5.1.4: In the case of a child who is not under the care of either of his parents or of legal
guardians, due account shall be taken of their expressed wishes or of any other proof of
their wishes in the matter of religion or belief, the best interests of the child being the
guiding principle.
5.1.5: Practices of a religion or belief in which a child is brought up must not be
injurious to his physical or mental health or to his full development, taking into account
Article 1, paragraph 3, of the present Declaration.
ARTICLE 6: PARAGRAPH 6.1.
In accordance with Article 1 of the present Declaration, and subject to the provisions of
Article 1, paragraph 3, the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
shall include, inter alia, the following freedoms:
6.1.1: To worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, and to establish
and maintain places for these purposes;
6.1.2: To establish and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions;
6.1.3: To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and
materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;
The Special Rapporteur communicated with the United States about the following
alleged institutional act (2.1.2) of discrimination. In 2001 a customer service
representative for Alamo Car Rental, “was denied permission to cover her head
with a scarf during the month of Ramadan consistent with her religious tenants.”
The company told her that the company dress code prohibited wearing a scarf but,
in fact, Alamo apparently had no such policy. The company “subsequently
disciplined, suspended and terminated Ms. Nur for failure to remove her
headscarf.”
In September 2002, according to the government of the United States of America,
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “filed a post-11
September-backlash discrimination lawsuit under Title VII against Alamo Car
Rental. The lawsuit challenges the discipline, suspension, and termination of Ms.
Nur, and seeks monetary relief, including back pay and compensatory and punitive
damages.”
6.1.4: To write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas;
6.1.5: To teach a religion or belief in places suitable for these purposes;
6.1.6: To solicit and receive voluntary financial and other contributions from individuals
and institutions;
6.1.7: To train, appoint, elect or designate by succession appropriate leaders called for
by the requirements and standards of any religion or belief;
6.1.8: To observe days of rest and to celebrate holidays and ceremonies in accordance
with the precepts of one’s religion or belief;
The alleged discrimination was against Muslims for days of rest, holidays and
ceremonies.
6.1.9: To establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in
matters of religion or belief at the national and international levels;
ARTICLE 7: PARAGRAPH 7.1.
These rights and freedoms set forth in the present Declaration shall be accorded in
national legislation in such a manner that everyone shall be able to avail themselves of
such rights and freedoms in practice.
7.1.1: Set Forth in Legislation
7.1.2: Available in Practice
In response to specific alleged incidents of discrimination the United States claims
national legislation is sufficient and was used for redress for the alleged victims.
ARTICLE8: PARAGRAPH 8.1.
Nothing in the present Declaration shall be construed as restricting or derogating any
right defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International
Covenants on Human Rights.
8.1.1: Non-restriction and Derogation
8.1.2: Conventions and Declarations
The 1981 United Nations Declaration cannot override the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). But the United States does not recognize
derogation to the under a reservation on ICCPR Article 20.
3. ASSESSMENT
The Tandem Project Learning Module assessment identifies and integrates issues and
case studies based on the 1981 U.N. Declaration review of your selected report or news
story.
Issues prioritize and distinguish what is important from unimportant in the 1981 U.N.
Declaration to build tolerance and prevent discrimination based on religion or belief.
They may be issues covered by the 1981 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or
Belief, or new topics not covered by the Declaration but considered important human
rights issues
Case Studies identifies who, what, where, when and why an alleged act of discrimination
occurred. Cases may range from general acts of intolerance to specific incidents of
discrimination, for instance, in housing, employment, health, zoning, education, etc.
1. The Government of the United States of America appears to lack coordination
and synthesis between their international reports on Article 18 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) relating to freedom of religion or
belief, and national reports on related First Amendment issues by United States
Government departments and agencies. This lack of a synthesis of international and
national civil and human rights reports is detrimental to state and local
governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), within the United
States, who address the relationship of international to national issues on freedom of
religion or belief at state and local levels.
Community Assessment Reports on Freedom of Religion or Belief, uses a “holistic
human rights perspective” from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, down
to human rights ordinances and resolutions by local units of government.
Harmonizing this approach within the United States is difficult when annual reports
by the State Department on Religious Freedom, while mentioning Article 18 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), does not include its
own country in their international human rights reporting process.
4. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Tandem Project Learning Module recommendations include best practices, effective
measures, proposed solutions to the issues and case studies Assessment review on your
selected report or news story.
1. Monitor the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Labor
Department and Justice Department Efforts to Promote Tolerance and Prevent
Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, by International Human Rights Treaty
Body Guidelines, Norms and Standards of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR).
Follow-up correspondence between the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of
Religion or Belief and Government of the United States of America, on the
allegations such as the alleged workplace discrimination against Arabs, Muslims
and Sikhs, in some standard form should be initiated. Such correspondence would
be a way of complimenting the excellent initiatives reported by the Government of
the United States on 25 March 2004 of actions taken by the United States Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, the Labor Department and the Department of Justice.
2. Hold a dialogue on the value of coordination and synthesis of international and
national reports on human rights between the U.N. Human Rights Committee for
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), U.N. Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the Government of the United
States of America responsible for ICCPR States Party reports, and representatives
off United States of America domestic departments and agencies responsible for
reports on First Amendment issues relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Communications between the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or
Belief and the Government of the United States creates an opportunity to open a
dialogue on the values of coordination and synthesis of international and national
reports relating to Articles 18, 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) and First Amendment issues relating to issues of human
rights, freedom of religion or belief, and national security since 9/11/2001.
Discussion might include revisiting their reservation to Article 20 of the ICCPR.
COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT REPORT
ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................. 1
THE TANDEM PROJECT ......................................................................................... 2
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF ................................................................... 3
II. COMMUNITY PROFILE ................................................................................... 4
HARMONIZED GUIDELINES .................................................................................. 5
LAND AND POPULATION ....................................................................................... 6
SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA ....................................................................................... 7
POLITICAL STRUCTURE......................................................................................... 8
HUMAN RIGHTS NORMS ........................................................................................ 9
RELIGIONS OR BELIEFS ....................................................................................... 10
III. THE 1981 UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION
ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF ..................................................... 11
ARTICLE 1: LEGAL DEFINITION ......................................................................... 12
ARTICLE 2: CLASSIFYING DISCRIMINATION ................................................. 13
ARTICLE 3: LINK TO OTHER RIGHTS ................................................................ 14
ARTICLE 4: EFFECTIVE MEASURES .................................................................. 15
ARTICLE 5: PARENTS, CHILDREN, STATE ....................................................... 16
ARTICLE 6: THE NINE SPECIFIC RIGHTS .......................................................... 17
ARTICLE 7: NATIONAL LEGISLATION .............................................................. 18
ARTICLE 8: EXISTING PROTECTIONS ............................................................... 19
IV. COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT ....................................................................... 20
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 21
COMMUNITY ISSUES ............................................................................................ 22
COMMUNITY CASE STUDIES .............................................................................. 23
V. RECOMMENDATIONS .................................................................................... 24
CIVIL ......................................................................................................................... 25
ECONOMIC .............................................................................................................. 26
POLITICAL ............................................................................................................... 27
SOCIAL ..................................................................................................................... 28
CULTURAL .............................................................................................................. 29
LEGISLATIVE .......................................................................................................... 30
THE TANDEM PROJECT
The Tandem Project is a 501 C.3 non-profit corporation founded in 1985. It is registered
with the United States Internal Revenue Service and Minnesota Charities Division under
Minnesota Statute.Ch.309. The idea for The Tandem Project idea originated in 1984
when the founder represented the World Federation of United Nations Associations
(WFUNA) at a two week United Nations Seminar on the Encouragement of
Understanding, Tolerance and Respect in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or
Belief (UN.Doc.A/40/361) in Geneva, Switzerland. Building on this spirit, The Tandem
Project promotes programs that support Article 18 of the UN International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, and the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms
of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Here is a chronology of
past and present Tandem Project accomplishments.
1986: A Conference on Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief, Minneapolis,
Minnesota. A grant from the US State Department enabled The Tandem Project to
organize an international conference for 75 Minnesota organizations to meet with 75
international participants as a follow-up to the two week 1984 Geneva Seminar sponsored
by the UN Secretariat. The focus of the conference was on Community Strategies to
promote tolerance and understanding between people of diverse beliefs. UN participants:
B.J. Ramcharan, UN Centre for Human Rights, later Acting High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Adam Lopatka, Chair, UN Working Group on the Rights of the Child
1989, The Tandem Project founded the Nobel Peace Prize Forum with the Norwegian
Nobel Institute and five Norwegian-American colleges in the Upper Midwest region of
the United States. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum, held annually on a rotating basis among
five colleges, attracts Nobel Peace Prize laureates, academics, distinguished international
diplomats and peace activists for plenary sessions and weekend workshops with students,
faculty and the general public. The Tandem Project as founder, served as coordinator of
the annual event in the first five years of this now fifteen year old symposium.
1989: Building Understanding and Respect between People of Diverse Religions or
Beliefs, Warsaw, Poland. UN participants: B.J. Ramcharan, Office of the Secretary
General, United Nations, Adam Lopatka, Chair, UN Working Group on the Rights of the
Child, Marek Hagmajer, Secretary General, World Federation of United Nations
Associations.
1991: Building Understanding and Respect between People of Diverse Religions or
Beliefs, New Delhi, India. UN participants: The Arcot Krishnaswami Lecture, Theodor
van Boven, former Director, UN Center for Human Rights, former Member UN SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, present UN
Special Rapporteur for the Convention Against Torture.
1993: Striving for Peace: The United Nations in a New World, Concordia College, and
Moorhead, Minnesota. UN participants: Irene Khan, Executive Assistant to UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, Valdimir Petrovsky, UN Under-Secretary General for
Political Affairs, Hisako Shimura, Director, UN Department of Peace-Keeping
Operations, James P. Grant, Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
1993, a two year grant from the Pew Foundation enabled publication of Freedom of
Religion and Belief: World Report, with the University of Essex, Colchester, England.
The University of Minnesota Foundation served as fiscal agent for the University of
Essex participation in the World Report.
1995: Freedom of Religion or Belief: A World Report, London, England. University of
Essex Colchester, England; and The Tandem Project. UN participants: Abdelfattah
Amor, UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, Sir Nigel Rodley, UN Special
Rapporteur Against Torture, B.J. Ramcharan, UN Office of High Commissioner for
Human Rights.
1996, The Tandem Project authored The Role of Secular Non-Governmental
Organizations in the Cultivation and Understanding of Religious Human Rights, a
chapter in the two-volume Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective, by Emory
University, Atlanta, Georgia.
1998: The Oslo Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Oslo, Norway. UN
participants: Martin Scheinin, Expert, UN Human Rights Committee, Patrice Gillibert,
Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Diamond Martin, Holy See
Ambassador to the United Nations, J. Symonides, Director, UNESCO Division of Human
Rights and Democracy, The Honorable Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Rev. Kjell Magne Bondevik, Prime Minister, Norway, Abdelfattah Amor,
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. This conference led to
formation of the International Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, in the
Norwegian Center for Human Rights.
1999: “Entering the New Millennium Children’s Rights and Religion at a Crossroads,”
marking the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The
Tandem Project presented a Workshop at this conference which was sponsored by
Defense for Children Israel and Palestine, just prior to the present Intifada.
2001: The Tandem Project was one of seven (7) members of the Preparatory Committee
for the UN International Consultative Conference on School Education in Relation to
Freedom of Religion or Belief, 23-25 November 2001, Madrid, Spain. Preparation
meetings were held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2002 and two in Madrid, Spain, in 2001.
2003: The Tandem Project launched the Women’s United Nations Report Network
(WUNRN). WUNRN is a global multi-sector coalition in support of the United Nations
Study on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Status of Women from the Viewpoint of
Religion and Traditions (E/CN.4/2002/73/add.2). This Study by U.N. Special Rapporteur
Abdelfattah Amor is a major, universal, comprehensive approach to intolerance and
discrimination against women based on religion and traditions. WUNRN and The
Tandem Project, http://www.wunrn.com, are committed to supporting the dignity and
fundamental rights of women and girls everywhere.
2004: Oslo Meeting of Experts: Teaching for Tolerance, Respect and Recognition in
Relation to Religion or Belief, Hosted by The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or
Belief in cooperation with UNESCO. UN participants: Abdelfattah Amor, Chair, UN
Human Rights Committee, Rosa Guerreiro, Executive Advisor, UNESCO Inter-cultural,
Inter-religious Program, Elena Ippoliti, Program Officer, UN Office High Commissioner
for Human Rights, HRE Program, Geneva, Joseph Kreidi, UNESCO Beirut Office,
Samuel Lee, Director, Center of Education for International Understanding, UNESCO,
Korea, Hasnah Gasim, UNESCO ASP network coordinator, Indonesia. The Tandem
Project organized the 1998 Oslo Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief and served
on the Planning Committee for the Oslo Meeting of Experts in 2004.
2004: Women’s United Nations Report Network (WUNRN), a program of The Tandem
Project. WUNRN Workshop: Building on the UN Study on Freedom of Religion or
Belief and the Status of Women from the Viewpoint of Religion and Traditions, UN
Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland. UN participants: Yakin Erturk, UN
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Abdelfattah Amor, UN Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Other participants included; Berhane RasWork, President, Inter-African Committee, Conchita Poncini, President, NGO Committee
on the Status of Women, Geneva, Krishna Ahooja Patel, President, Women’s
International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Dr. John Taylor, Secretary, NGO
Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Geneva, Lois A. Herman, Co-Coordinator,
WUNRN, The Tandem Project, Michael M. Roan, Executive Director, The Tandem
Project.
________________________________________________________________________
THE UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS
AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
Equal Rights by Separation of
Religion or Belief and the State
The Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads; recognition of the
inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the
human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. This is
the First Preamble, first principle and core foundational philosophy of human rights. It
requires one to hold their own deeply-held religion or belief in tandem with the right of
others to believe as they choose; subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law
and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental rights
and freedoms of others. The United Nations cannot favor one religion or belief over
another, if universal human rights as a foundation for international law are to be
recognized, respected, grow and prosper.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims,
“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.” Article 18 of
the UDHR became international law in 1966 as Article 18 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) in 1993 issued a General on
Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; “Article 18
protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to
profess any religion or belief.” The United Nations must be neutral and
impartial in order to give equal protection to the right to profess all religious and
non-religious beliefs;

The HRC General Comment on Article 18 said further, “the concept of morals
derives from many social, philosophical and religious traditions;
consequently, limitations on the freedom to manifest a religion or belief for
the purpose of protecting morals must be based on principles not deriving
from a single tradition;”

In September 2000 an interim report on the United Nations Decade for Human
Rights Education (1994-2005) by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
made the following recommendation; “Value-oriented human rights education
alone is insufficient. Human rights education should make reference to
human rights instruments and mechanisms of protection for ensuring
accountability.”