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UNITED NATIONS' DECLARATIONS
 ON RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

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We have found two UN declarations related to religious freedom. One resolution (adopted by the 36th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 1981-NOV-25) is shown below.

A second resolution (adopted by the 48th session on 1993-DEC-20) is also listed.

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1981 Resolution

It includes declarations on the topics of:

bulletreligious intolerance
bulletfreedom of religion
bulletdiscrimination on the basis of religion or belief

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TITLE:
Resolution Adopted By The General Assembly. 36/55.
Declaration On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Intolerance And Of Discrimination Based On Religion Or Belief

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TEXT:
The General Assembly,

bulletConsidering that one of the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations is that of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings, and that all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action in cooperation with the Organization to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
bulletConsidering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights proclaim the principles of non-discrimination and equality before the law and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief,
bulletConsidering that the disregard and infringement of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or whatever belief, have brought, directly or indirectly, wars and great suffering to mankind, especially where they serve as a means of foreign interference in the internal affairs of other States and amount to kindling hatred between peoples and nations,
bulletConsidering that religion or belief, for anyone who professes either, is one of the fundamental elements in his conception of life and that freedom of religion or belief should be fully respected and guaranteed,
bulletConsidering that it is essential to promote understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion and belief and to ensure that the use of religion or belief for ends inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, other relevant instruments of the United Nations and the purposes and principles of the present Declaration is inadmissible,
bulletConvinced that freedom of religion and belief should also contribute to the attainment of the goals of world peace, social justice and friendship among peoples and to the elimination of ideologies or practices of colonialism and racial discrimination,
bulletNoting with satisfaction the adoption of several, and the coming into force of some, conventions, under the aegis of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies, for the elimination of various forms of discrimination,
bulletConcerned by manifestations of intolerance and by the existence of discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some areas of the world,
bulletResolved to adopt all necessary measures for the speedy elimination of such intolerance in all its forms and manifestations and to prevent and combat discrimination on the ground of religion or belief,
bulletProclaims this Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief:

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Article 1

  1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
  2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have a religion or belief of his choice.
  3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

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Article 2

  1. No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on grounds of religion or other beliefs.
  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.

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Article 3

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.

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Article 4

  1. All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the 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.
  2. All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.

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Article 5

  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 should be brought up.
  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.
  3. The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the ground of religion or belief. He 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 fellow men.
  4. In the case of a child who is not under the care 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. Practices of a religion or beliefs 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.

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Article 6

In accordance with article 1 of the present Declaration and subject to the provisions of article 1, paragraph 3, the right freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief shall include, inter alia, the following freedoms:

bullet(a) To worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, and to establish and maintain places for these purposes;
bullet(b) To establish and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions;
bullet(c) 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;
bullet(d) To write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas;
bullet(e) To teach a religion or belief in places suitable for these purposes;
bullet(f) To solicit and receive voluntary financial and other contributions from individuals and institutions;
bullet(g) To train, appoint, elect or designate by succession appropriate leaders called for by the requirements and standards of any religion or belief;
bullet(h) To observe days of rest and to celebrate holidays and ceremonies in accordance with the precepts of one's religion or belief;
bullet(i) To establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in matters of religion and belief at the national and international levels.

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Article 7

The 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 himself of such rights and freedoms in practice.

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Article 8

Nothing in the present Declaration shall be construed as restricting or derogating from any right defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights.

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1993 Resolution

TITLE:
Resolution Adopted By The General Assembly. 48/128.
ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

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TEXT:
The General Assembly,

bulletRecalling that all States have pledged themselves, under the Charter of the United Nations, to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
bulletRecognizing that those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,
bulletReaffirming that discrimination against human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter,
bulletReaffirming its resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981, by which it proclaimed the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,
bulletRecalling its resolution 47/129 of 18 December 1992, in which it requested the Commission on Human Rights to continue its consideration of measures to implement the Declaration,
bulletTaking note of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/25 of 5 March 1993,
bulletReaffirming the call of the World Conference on Human Rights for all Governments to take all appropriate measures in compliance with their international obligations and with due regard to their respective legal systems to counter intolerance and related violence based on religion or belief, including practices of discrimination against women and the desecration of religious sites, recognizing that every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, expression and religion,
bulletRecalling Commission on Human Rights resolution 1992/17 of 21 February 1992, in which the Commission decided to extend for three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur appointed to examine incidents and governmental actions in all parts of the world that are incompatible with the provisions of the Declaration and to recommend remedial measures, as appropriate, and recalling also Economic and Social Council decision 1992/226 of 20 July 1992,
bulletWelcoming the appointment of Mr. Abdelfattah Amor as Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, and calling upon all Governments to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur to enable him to carry out his mandate fully,
bulletRecognizing that it is desirable to enhance the promotional and public information activities of the United Nations in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief and that both Governments and non-governmental organizations have an important role to play in this domain,
bulletEmphasizing that non-governmental organizations and religious bodies and groups at every level have an important role to play in the promotion of tolerance and the protection of freedom of religion or belief,
bulletConscious of the importance of education in ensuring tolerance of religion and belief,
bulletAlarmed that serious instances, including acts of violence, of intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief occur in many parts of the world, as evidenced in the report of the former Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Angelo Vidal d'Almeida Ribeiro,
bulletReaffirming the dismay and condemnation expressed by the World Conference on Human Rights at the continued occurrence of gross and systematic violations and situations that constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of all human rights, including religious intolerance,
bulletBelieving that further efforts are therefore required to promote and protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief and to eliminate all forms of hatred, intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief,
bullet1. Reaffirms that freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief is a human right derived from the inherent dignity of the human person and guaranteed to all without discrimination;
bullet2. Urges States to ensure that their constitutional and legal systems provide full guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, including the provision of effective remedies where there is intolerance or discrimination based on religion or belief;
bullet3. Recognizes that legislation alone is not enough to prevent violations of human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief;
bullet4. Urges all States therefore to take all appropriate measures to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, including those motivated by religious extremism, and to encourage understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief;
bullet5. Urges States to ensure that, in the course of their official duties, members of law enforcement bodies, civil servants, educators and other public officials respect different religions and beliefs and do not discriminate against persons professing other religions or beliefs;
bullet6. Calls upon all States to recognize, as provided in the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, and to establish and maintain places for those purposes;
bullet7. Also calls upon all States in accordance with their national legislation to exert utmost efforts to ensure that religious places and shrines are fully respected and protected;
bullet8. Considers it desirable to enhance the promotional and public information activities of the United Nations in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief and to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to this end in the World Public Information Campaign for Human Rights;
bullet9. Invites the Secretary-General to continue to give high priority to the dissemination of the text of the Declaration, in all the official languages of the United Nations, and to take all appropriate measures to make the text available for use by the United Nations information centres, as well as by other interested bodies;
bullet10. Encourages the continuing efforts on the part of the Special Rapporteur appointed to examine incidents and governmental actions in all parts of the world that are incompatible with the provisions of the Declaration and to recommend remedial measures as appropriate;
bullet11. Encourages Governments to give serious consideration to inviting the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries so as to enable him to fulfill his mandate even more effectively;
bullet12. Recommends that the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion be given appropriate priority in the work of the United Nations program of advisory services in the field of human rights, including work on the drafting of basic legal texts in conformity with international instruments on human rights and taking into account the provisions of the Declaration;
bullet13. Notes with interest the adoption by the Human Rights Committee of a general comment on article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, dealing with freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
bullet14. Welcomes the efforts of non-governmental organizations to promote the implementation of the Declaration;
bullet15. Requests the Secretary-General to invite interested non- governmental organizations to consider what further role they could envisage playing in the implementation of the Declaration and in its dissemination in national and local languages;
bullet16. Urges all States to consider disseminating the text of the Declaration in their respective national languages and to facilitate its dissemination in national and local languages;
bullet17. Requests the Commission on Human Rights to continue its consideration of measures to implement the Declaration;
bullet18. Decides to consider the question of the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance at its forty-ninth session under the item entitled Human rights questions.

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Essay created: 1996-SEP-21
Latest update: 2006-SEP-07

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