Introduction: Religious Human Rights in the World Today: A Report on the 1994 Atlanta Conference with Book Excerpts
John Witte Jr.
Emory University School of Law
Emory International Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 53, 1996
In 1994, a conference was held on the state of religious human rights in the world today. Bishop Desmond Tutu admitted to the shameful and gory history of human rights abuses in the world, and stated that 2 billion people only experience partial liberty. It is therefore time to take religious rights seriously.
Interest in human rights rose after World War II, leading to the “rights revolution.” Religious and political groups demanded human rights, but religious rights have begun to be ignored. The problem is not apathy; physical abuses are simply easier to track than spiritual. However, the neglect of religious rights has had a deleterious effect on the rights movement. It has impoverished the general theory of human rights that was embraced by the rights revolution; the deprecation of religious rights has sharpened the divide between Western and non-Western theories of rights; and the deprecation of religion has exaggerated the role of the state as a guarantor of human rights.
Therefore, national and international communities must make a committed effort to reintegrate religions and religious rights into the contemporary field of human rights. The conference report that this article introduces is a thumbnail sketch of certain core teachings of religions of the Book. The first section of articles shows differences in “church-state” relations and call for the application of core guarantees of liberty of conscience, free exercise, and equality of religions. The second section of articles describes the state of religious rights and liberties in select nations today.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: Religion, human rights, abuse, religious rights, internationalAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 3, 2011
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