By CAP Liberté de Conscience May 2024

The United Nations has restated its dedication to safeguarding freedom through a resolution approved by the Human Rights Council in its fifty session held from 26 February to 5 April 2024. This resolution, passed with support highlights the Community’s commitment, to upholding one of the essential human rights.

By drawing on human rights treaties like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Political Rights the resolution underscores the interconnected nature of all human rights. It stresses that States play a role in promoting and safeguarding these rights for individuals belonging to minorities.

A significant aspect of resolution 55/16 is its strategy for addressing challenges to freedom. The Council expresses worry over the rise in acts of violence, intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief which manifest through practices such as stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization. Moreover it denounces the increase in extremism and incidents of hatred that could escalate into violence or terrorism.

The resolution highlights how freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression are interdependent and mutually supportive emphasizing their importance in combating forms of intolerance and discrimination. This acknowledgment becomes more critical given today’s worlds increasing struggles, with hate speech and incitement to violence.

The resolution emphasizes the role of education, in fostering tolerance and addressing discrimination based on religion or belief. It urges countries to leverage education to eradicate biases and stereotypes while promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Viewing education as a tool to nurture a culture of inclusivity and tolerance marks a step

Moreover the resolution underscores the significance of enhancing dialogue among individuals from faiths and backgrounds with an emphasis on inclusivity that includes women’s participation. It applauds initiatives like the Alliance of Civilizations and UNESCO led programs that foster tolerance, respect and mutual comprehension.

The Council recognizes the contributions of civil society organizations, religious groups, national human rights institutions and media in advancing the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Their efforts in shedding light on instances of intolerance, discrimination and persecution highlight the importance of efforts among stakeholders to promote freedom.

Resolution 55/16 serves as a reaffirmation of the Community’s dedication to safeguarding the right to freedom of religion or belief. Its effectiveness stems from its emphasis on education and dialogue as its call for action, by States.

In a world where intolerance and discrimination remain prevalent this resolution offers guidance, for taking action. Highlights the work required to safeguard every person’s ability to practice their fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief.

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