Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article The UN Human Rights Committee emphasises that this freedom is "far-reaching and profound", that it "encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief, whether manifested individually or in community with others", that the freedom for conscience should be equal to that for religion and belief and that protection is for "theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief".
This freedom in international law was historically focused on the religious liberty of minority communities. Today, laws securing freedom of religion and belief are no longer focused on the need to maintain the status quo in order not to undermine regional security, but spotlight a number of concerns including non-discrimination, equality and dignity. Championing this freedom has societal as well as individualist rationales, allowing people the scope to openly seek, vigorously discuss and freely uphold the beliefs that they choose, alone or along with others.
Achieving an enabling environment for this freedom requires not only non-interference on the grounds of religion or belief by the state but positive measures to be taken to achieve and maintain such an environment in society at large. In practice, this should include, for example, the possibility to make available places of worship or to provide moral and religious education.
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Question: Are you a member of any religious community? How did you get involved? That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another. In a papyrus from Ancient Egypt. As with all other human rights, this freedom does not "trump" other freedoms and it sometimes finds itself in tension with other human rights, such as freedom of opinion and expression and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sex or sexual orientation.
This is reflected for example in the way Article 9 of the European Convention on Human rights is structured: there is an absolute protection of the right to religious belief, conscience and thought, but the manifestations only enjoy a qualified protection in so far as they do not violate other human rights. 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 worship, teaching, practice and observance.
Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Freedom of religion and belief — including freedom to change religion — is essential to all of us, in our search for meaning, our full development, our identity and our expression as members of a community or communities. Whether we have a firm religion or belief, whether we are undecided, or even if we do not really care much for religion or belief, this freedom matters to people and the societies they build.
Are there any communities in your country that do not enjoy the same level of freedom of religion and belief as others? Religious groups must tolerate, as other groups must, critical public statements and debate about their activities, teachings and beliefs, provided that such criticism does not amount to intentional and gratuitous insult and does not constitute incitement to disturb the public peace or to discriminate against adherents of a particular religion.
Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. Throughout religious history, many religious and societal features have been embedded in the environment where a particular religion was practised, and they are reflected in culture and politics.
Many pieces of literature, poetry, art and music, dress codes and ways of organising life together have been drawn from religions. Religion has made a strong imprint on culture, which can be seen, for example, on holy days, at feasts, in marriage ceremonies, burial practices, pilgrimages, the wearing of religious symbols e.
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The influence of religions may become even stronger when nations adopt a state religion or religious ideology. In such situations, religion and religious arguments may become confused with the political, economic or social reasoning. The extent to which freedom of thought, conscience and religion allow distinctive practices of a community of believers to diverge from those of the rest of the society is often debated within the human rights community.
Examples of this include attitudes towards women in religious leadership positions, traditional ceremonies involving children, laws surrounding marriage, divorce or burial, prohibition on the depiction of divine beings or other religious figures, and so on. Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.
In such contexts, the human rights bodies would criticise harmful practices, regardless of whether they were traditionally condoned by particular cultures, nations or religions. Such criticism is not an attack on culture, nationality or religion but an attempt to strike a balance between the right to one's religions and belief and other human rights, since several of these practices can result in serious human rights abuse.
Harmful traditional practices include female genital mutilation, son-preference which can manifest itself in sex-selective abortion, failing to care for newborn girls, discrimination in education in favour of sons, discrimination in nutrition , arranged or forced marriages, marriage of children, dowry-related crimes and crimes justified by "honour", exclusion or limitation of some rights of non-adherents to a more powerful religious group in a given community, segregation according to religious lines, and so on. Such practices disproportionately affect women and children: invoking tradition is used to justify discrimination on the basis of gender and age.
Furthermore, in several cases, situations which, from a human rights perspective, are a violation of human dignity, remain unrecognised, taboo and unpunished. Few of these practices are based on religious precepts; the fact that they are deeply anchored in culture and tradition do not make ending them any easier. Changes have to come through legislative change, education and empowerment. Throughout history, religions have played a crucial role in imposing limitations on human action in order to protect the physical and psychological integrity or dignity of other people.
Yet, even though religious philosophies have contributed to the development of a conscience of human rights and dignity, the human rights related to religion and belief are no more exempt from the tensions and contradictions that are present in human rights instruments, than are other rights. As seen in the case of harmful traditional practices, sometimes convictions or beliefs are used to justify outright physical harm with severe health consequences.
Religious intolerance can be observed at different levels: among adherents of the same religion intra-religious intolerance ; between one religion or religious attitude and another, manifesting itself in various forms of conflicts between persons and groups of persons inter-religious intolerance ; in the form of confrontational atheism or confrontational theism, which are intolerant of free choice and practice of other religions or belief commitments; or in the form of anti-secularism.
Religious intolerance is often confused with xenophobia and other forms of discrimination; sometimes it is also used to justify discrimination. Most human rights violations related to freedom of religion and belief are also related to freedom from discrimination. Discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief is contrary to human rights but it is nonetheless experienced daily by many people across Europe.
The fact that religion and belief are often confused with culture, nationality and ethnicity makes it more complicated but also more painful on an individual level: you may be discriminated against on the grounds of religious affiliation even if you happen not to believe in the religion you are associated with. Discrimination and intolerance impact negatively on society as a whole, and particularly on young people who experience it. Such effects include:. Religious intolerance is also used to feed hatred in, and to contribute to, armed conflicts, not so much because it is the cause of conflict but because religious belonging is used to draw dividing lines, as armed conflicts in the Balkans and Caucasus demonstrate.
The consequences of international terrorism and the "wars on terrorism" have been particularly devastating in Europe and beyond, notably because religious intolerance becomes mixed with xenophobia and racism. No single social group, religion or community has the monopoly of discrimination.
Even though the levels of protection of the freedom of religion and belief vary significantly across the member states of the Council of Europe, religious intolerance and discrimination affects everyone in Europe.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Saint Paul. Of particular concern in several European countries is the rise of Islamophobia, the fear and hatred of Islam, resulting in discrimination against Muslims or people associated with Islam. Islam is the most widespread religion in Europe after Christianity and the majority religion in various member states of the Council of Europe. The hostility towards Islam as a religion and to Muslim people, particularly following the "wars on terror", has revealed deep-rooted prejudices against Muslims in many European societies.
With the perception of the religion of Islam as being associated only with terrorism and extremism, Islamophobia has contributed to negative views of Islam and Muslims, wrongly generalising militant religious extremism and ultra-conservatism onto all Muslim countries and Muslim people. This intolerance and stereotyped view of Islam has manifested itself in a number of ways, ranging from verbal or written abuse of Muslim people, discrimination at schools and workplaces, and psychological harassment or pressure, to outright violent attacks on mosques and individuals, especially women who wear headscarves.
Like other victims of discrimination grounded on religious affiliation, discrimination against Muslims may overlap with other forms of discrimination and xenophobia, such as anti-immigrant sentiments, racism and sexism.
Six recurring prejudices about Muslims All the same: Muslims are seen as all being much the same as each other, regardless of their nationality, social class and political outlook, and of whether they are observant in their beliefs and practice. All are motivated by religion: It is thought that the single most important thing about Muslims, in all circumstances, is their religious faith. So, if Muslims engage in violence, for example, it is assumed that this is because their religion advocates violence.
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Totally "other": Muslims are seen as totally "other": they are seen as having few if any interests, needs or values in common with people who do not have a Muslim background. Society in Pacific Northwest groups was generally highly stratified and included, in many instances, an elite, a commoner class, and a slave class. In this way, an individual could acquire rank through kin associations, although kin groups themselves had ascribed ranks. Movement in and out of slavery was even possible. The large number of oral traditions that arise from this era regularly reference conflict and the severe loss of personnel.
In receiving property at a potlatch an attendee was committing to act as a witness to the legitimacy of the event being celebrated. The size of potlatching varied radically and would evolve along new lines in the post-contact period, but the outlines and protocols of this cultural trademark were well-elaborated centuries before the contact moment. West Coast peoples and the nations of the Columbia Plateau which covers much of southern inland British Columbia , like many eastern groups, applied controlled burning to eliminate underbrush and open up landscape to berry patches and meadows of camas plants that were gathered for their potato-like roots.
A great deal of the land seized upon by early European settlers in the Pacific Northwest included these berry patches and meadows. These were attractive sites because they had been cleared of huge trees and consisted of mostly open and well-drained pasture. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.
Around 10, BCE, another type of society developed in ancient Anatolia, now part of Turkey , based on the newly developed capacity for people to grow and cultivate plants. Horticultural societies formed in areas where rainfall and other conditions provided fertile soils to grow stable crops with simple hand tools. Their increasing degree of control over nature decreased their dependence on shifting environmental conditions for survival.
They no longer had to abandon their location to follow resources and were able to find permanent settlements. The new horticultural technology created more stability and dependability, produced more material goods and provided the basis for the first revolution in human survival: the neolithic revolution. Changing conditions and adaptations also led some societies to rely on the domestication of animals where circumstances permitted. Roughly 8, BCE, human societies began to recognize their ability to tame and breed animals.
Pastoral societies rely on the domestication of animals as a resource for survival. Unlike earlier hunter-gatherers who depended entirely on existing resources to stay alive, pastoral groups were able to breed livestock for food, clothing, and transportation, creating a surplus of goods. Herding, or pastoral, societies remained nomadic because they were forced to follow their animals to fresh feeding grounds.
With the emergence of horticultural and pastoral societies during the neolithic revolution, stable agricultural surpluses began to be generated, population densities increased, specialized occupations developed, and societies commenced sustained trading with other local groups. Feuding and warfare also grew with the accumulation of wealth. One of the key inventions of the neolithic revolution therefore was structured, social inequality: the development of a class structure based on the appropriation of surpluses.
A social class can be defined as a group that has a distinct relationship to the means of production. In neolithic societies, based on horticulture or animal husbandry as their means of production, control of land or livestock became the first form of private property that enabled one relatively small group to take the surpluses while another much larger group produced them.