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Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/23

E/CN.4/1996/95

          
          UNITED
          NATIONS
          E
          Economic and Social
          Distr.
          GENERAL
          Council
          E/cN.4/1996/95
          15 December 1995
          ENGLISH
          Original: FRENCH
          COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          Fifty-second session
          Item 18 of the provisional agenda
          IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF
          INTOLERANCE AND OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
          Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in
          accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/23
          I. INTRODUCTION
          CONTENTS
          IDENTIFICATION OF LEGISLATION IN THE FIELD OF TOLERANCE AND
          NON-DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
          IMPORTANCE OF IN SITU VISITS
          II.
          III.
          IV. DEVELOPMENT OF A CULTURE OF TOLERANCE
          V. STATUS OF COMMUNICATIONS (1988-1995) SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
          MANDATE
          STATUS OF COMMUNICATIONS SINCE THE FIFTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE
          COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
          VI I .
          VI .
          GE.95-14838 (E)
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
          page 2
          I. INTRODUCTION
          1. At its forty-second session, the Commission on Human Rights decided, in
          resolution 1986/20 of 10 March 1986, to appoint for one year a special
          rapporteur to examine incidents and governmental actions in all parts of the
          world inconsistent with the provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination
          of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,
          and to recommend remedial measures for such situation.
          2. In accordance with the terms of that resolution, the Special Rapporteur
          submitted his first report to the Commission at its forty-third session
          (E/cN.4/1987/35). His mandate was extended for one year by resolution 1987/15
          of 4 March 1987, at the same session of the Commission.
          3. From 1988 onwards, the Special Rapporteur has submitted yearly reports to
          the Commission (E/cN.4/1988/45 and Add.1; E/CN.4/1989/44; E/cN.4/1990/46;
          E/CN.4/1991/56; E/cN.4/1992/52; E/CN.4/1993/62 and Corr.1 and Add.1) . In its
          resolutions 1988/55, 1990/27 and 1992/17, the Commission twice decided to
          extend the Special Rapporteur's mandate for two years, and then for a further
          three years, until 1995.
          4. After the resignation of Mr. Angelo Vidal d'Almeida Ribeiro, the Chairman
          of the Commission appointed Mr. Abdelfattah Amor as Special Rapporteur. The
          latter submitted his reports (E/CN.4/1994/79; E/cN.4/199s/91 and Add.1) to the
          Commission on Human Rights at its fiftieth and fifty-first sessions.
          5. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 49/188 of 23 December 1994, the
          Special Rapporteur submitted an interim report to the fiftieth session of the
          General Assembly (A/50/440) .
          6. By its resolution 1995/23, of 24 February 1995, the Commission on Human
          Rights decided to extend the Special Rapporteur's mandate for three years.
          7. In this report, the Special Rapporteur draws attention to the principal
          themes developed in his report to the General Assembly and brings it up to
          date with a report on the status of the communications and replies received
          since then.
          II. IDENTIFICATION OF LEGISLATION IN THE FIELD OF TOLERANCE
          AND NON-DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
          8. In discharging his mandate and in order to gain a better understanding of
          the legal guarantees for freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief,
          the Special Rapporteur gathers the information sent to him by official and
          non-governmental sources with a view to ascertaining what measures States have
          taken to combat intolerance and what incidents and governmental actions might
          be inconsistent with the provisions of the Declaration.
          9. In 1994, the Special Rapporteur invited Governments to communicate all
          new information falling within that mandate, as well as any other observations
          that they wished to make in that regard.
        
          
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          10. Most of the replies from Governments, rather few in number (see
          E/CN.4/199 5/91/Add.1) , referred to constitutions, relevant laws and
          regulations, even religious law and traditions relating to the question of
          freedom of religion or belief as well as legal measures taken to combat
          intolerance and discrimination in this area, and lastly governmental policies.
          The information provided dealt essentially with the following subjects:
          (a) Protection and promotion of the right to freedom of thought,
          conscience, religion or belief and related human rights, for example, freedom
          of expression, information, assembly and association, and equality before the
          law;
          (b) Protection and promotion of the right to manifest one's religion or
          belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching, the right to assembly
          and form peaceful associations in connection with a religion or belief, the
          right to teach a religion or belief in places suitable for these purposes, and
          the right to observe days of rest and to celebrate holidays and ceremonies in
          accordance with the precepts of one's religion or belief;
          (c) Prevention and elimination of discrimination on the grounds of
          religion or belief and, in particular, protection against discrimination in
          education, access to the civil service, employment, practising a profession,
          and marriage;
          (d) Legal provisions on cases of infringement relating to beliefs or
          religious sentiments and the protection of places, ceremonies and traditions
          connected with religion or belief;
          (e) Conscientious objection to military service;
          (f) Education, including religious instruction of children and adults,
          and provisions and practices in this field;
          (g) Legal restrictions on the above-mentioned rights.
          III. IMPORTANCE OF IN SITU VISITS
          11. Recalling resolution 1995/23 of the Commission on Human Rights, the
          Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize the importance which he attaches to
          visits made in situ in order to further the dialogue already initiated with
          many Governments and also better to appreciate the full complexity of the
          situations of religious intolerance.
          12. From 1987 to 1993, in addition to visiting a number of countries in a
          personal capacity, the Special Rapporteur, Mr. d'Almeida Ribeiro, made an
          official visit to Bulgaria at the initiative of the Bulgarian Government (see
          E/CN.4/1988/95) .
          13. In November 1994, the Special Rapporteur made a visit to China at the
          initiative of the People's Republic of China (see E/CN.4/1995/1991) .
          In June 1995, the Special Rapporteur visited Pakistan (E/cN.4/1996/95/Add.1)
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
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          at the invitation of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He
          also visited Iran in December 1995 at the invitation of the Government of the
          Islamic Republic of Iran (E/CN.4/1996/94/Add.2) .
          14. The Special Rapporteur was to have made a visit to Greece in
          September 1995. For health reasons he was compelled to postpone that visit.
          For convenience of scheduling, the visit by the Special Rapporteur to India,
          which has been approved by the Indian authorities, has also been postponed.
          15. In 1995, the Special Rapporteur expressed the desire to visit Viet Nam
          and Turkey respectively and is still awaiting replies.
          16. The Special Rapporteur strongly encourages all States to invite him to
          visit their countries in order to strengthen understanding and mutual
          cooperation, for the sake of eliminating all forms of intolerance and of
          discrimination based on religion or belief. He is also considering asking
          some Governments to allow him to visit their countries. He is of the view
          that, while it is still worth attaching importance to traditional visits, it
          would also be useful, in some circumstances, to make contact visits for the
          purpose of establishing a dialogue with some Governments and furthering
          understanding.
          17. The Special Rapporteur also intends to resort to visits designed to
          highlight positive experience of tolerance in order to identify the factors
          and ways and means of contributing to the implementation of the Declaration on
          the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on
          Religion or Belief.
          IV. DEVELOPMENT OF A CULTURE OF TOLERANCE
          18. As indicated in the Special Rapporteur's previous reports to the
          Commission on Human Rights education can make a decisive contribution to
          inculcating values based on human rights and to the emergence, both at the
          individual as well as the group level, of attitudes and behaviour reflecting
          tolerance and non-discrimination, thus constituting an element in spreading a
          human rights culture. The schools, as an essential component of the
          educational system, can provide a prime and fertile terrain for lasting
          progress with respect to tolerance and non-discrimination in connection with
          religion and belief. Accordingly, the Special Rapporteur conducted a survey,
          by means of a questionnaire to States, on problems relating to freedom of
          religion and belief from the standpoint of the curricula and textbooks of
          primary or elementary and secondary education institutions. The results of
          such a survey could facilitate the formulation of an international educational
          strategy to combat all forms of intolerance and discrimination with regard to
          religion and belief, a strategy that could be centred on the definition and
          implementation of a minimum common programme of tolerance and
          non-discrimination.
          19. The Special Rapporteur has received replies from the following 73 States:
          Albania, Algeria, Aridorra, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and
          Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Colombia,
          CSte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt,
          France, Germany, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia,
        
          
          E/cN. 4/1996/95
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          Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kirghizistan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
          Mali, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,
          Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of
          Korea, Romania, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain,
          Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
          Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
          Ireland, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia and Zambia.
          20. The Special Rapporteur invites all other States to reply in order to give
          proper scope to the results of this international survey. On account of the
          insufficient resources assigned to the Special Rapporteur's mandate, it will
          only be possible to undertake the sorting and analysis of the replies
          necessary to prepare a draft international strategy in 1996.
          V. STATUS OF COMMUNICATIONS (1988-1995) SINCE THE
          ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MANDATE
          21. The Special Rapporteur has prepared a table indicating the status of
          communications since the establishment of the mandate, taking into account the
          following reports: E/CN.4/1988/45 and Add.1; E/cN.4/1989/44; E/CN.4/1990/46;
          E/CN.4/1991/56; E/cN.4/1992/52; E/CN.4/1993/62 and Corr.1 and Add.1;
          E/CN.4/1994/79; E/cN.4/199s/91 and Add.1. The detailed status report,
          comprising tables, graphs and analyses is contained in the report to the
          General Assembly (A/50/440) .
          22. Very succinctly, it should be recalled that, as far as the trend in the
          number of communications from the establishment of the mandate up to
          February 1995 is concerned, 267 communications were sent to 74 States. 1/
          There has been a two-fold rise, both in incidents that have occurred or
          situations at variance with the Declaration, and in the number of States that
          have received special attention from the Special Rapporteur.
          23. The Special Rapporteur intends to continue to give new momentum to the
          mandate on religious intolerance. He has chosen to maintain the practice of
          sending States a communication - and, if necessary, more than one - both
          within the same year, and from one year to the next.
          24. Since the mandate was established, the number of reminders has been low,
          doubtless because the Special Rapporteur only sends reminders if he receives
          no reply and not in response to imprecise and incomplete replies.
          Nevertheless, the Special Rapporteur tends to incorporate reminders about
          certain information contained in the previous allegations into new
          communications.
          25. The urgent appeal procedure was established by the Special Rapporteur
          in 1994 in order to respond more effectively and more rapidly to particularly
          serious situations or cases. It is essential for the States concerned to
          reply as expeditiously as possible, i.e. within two weeks at the most from the
          date on which the urgent appeal is transmitted. It is important to note that
          urgent appeals are sent by fax and that it would therefore be highly
          desirable, in terms of the effectiveness of this procedure, for States to fax
          their replies; they could always send the original later by mail.
        
          
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          26. The communications have been classified on the basis of the relevant
          articles of the 1981 Declaration, namely articles 1 to 6, and of certain human
          rights (the right to life, to physical integrity and security of person, the
          right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of opinion and expression) .
          It can be seen that, in decreasing order, violations of the right to life, to
          physical integrity and security of person are most numerous (184 violations)
          and this is a constant feature each year. 2/
          27. Article 1 of the Declaration (freedom of thought, conscience and religion
          and freedom to manifest one's religion or belief) accounts for the second
          highest number of violations (116 violations, mainly cases of prohibition of
          proselytizing, of possessing certain religious objects and cases of forced
          conversions) and article 6 of the Declaration (freedoms associated with
          freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief) is in third place with
          many cases of closure, destruction and prohibition of the construction of
          places of worship, prohibition of religious publications, of celebration of
          religious holidays and violations of the freedom to elect religious leaders.
          28. Violations of articles 2 and 3 of the Declaration (discrimination) are in
          fourth place. It is important to note that these violations have increased
          substantially each year. These are cases of discrimination in employment and
          education and an atmosphere of intolerance towards certain religious
          communities. These violations are often the result of discriminatory national
          and local laws and regulations. Moreover, article 4 of the Declaration (State
          and, in particular, legislative measures in the religious field) is also in
          fourth place in terms of the number of violations; hence the paramount
          importance of continuing to work to promote national laws which conform with
          international law.
          29. Violations of the right to freedom of movement, often in the form of
          forced exile and local expulsions, are in fifth place.
          30. Article S of the Declaration (children, parents and legal guardians in
          the religious sphere) is in sixth place.
          31. Violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression come last,
          no doubt because this right does not fall exclusively within the mandate of
          the Special Rapporteur but is sometimes relevant in the religious field.
          32. Regarding the replies, of the 74 States to which communications were
          sent, 23, i.e. 30 per cent, never replied; the proportion of replies to
          communications ranged from 23 to 81 per cent. However, some replies were
          occasionally incomplete, imprecise and in some cases could even be considered
          inadmissible.
          33. With regard to the quality of the replies, of the 147 replies received
          for the period 1988-1995, 126 (85 per cent) were precise and 119 (80 per cent)
          were complete. These results are positive and encouraging, especially in view
          of the many requests made of States, especially within the framework of the
          United Nations, and the tendency in the past few years for States to be
          sparing with their replies. None the less, the Special Rapporteur feels it is
          essential for all States to submit their replies, and has therefore had
        
          
          E/cN. 4/1996/95
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          recourse to reminder letters, frequent diplomatic consultations and field
          visits. States are therefore strongly encouraged to cooperate with this
          effort.
          34. Christianity is the religion most often referred to in the communications
          (over 16 per cent) , doubtless because it is more highly organized and because
          there is a greater awareness, on the part of the different Christian
          communities in the various regions concerned, with regard to the protection
          and promotion of human rights, especially religious rights.
          35. The category “Other religions and religious groups” (Ahmadis, Baha'is,
          Pentecostalists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, spiritualist
          religions, Hare Krishna, Scientology and the “Family of love”) comes second as
          far as violations (more than 10 per cent) are concerned. This category
          includes a number of highly diverse and numerically small religious groups.
          In other words, these are cases where minorities are suffering from religious
          intolerance.
          36. Islam is the third largest religion cited as being discriminated against.
          It accounts for over 9 per cent, close to the minority group category (over
          10 per cent) . The remaining religions, in decreasing order, are: Buddhism
          (over 3 per cent) , Judaism (over 1 per cent) and Hinduism (less than
          1 per cent) .
          VI. STATUS OF COMMUNICATIONS SINCE THE FIFTY-FIRST SESSION OF
          THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          37. This report on the status of communications and replies concerns
          communications sent since the fifty-first session of the Commission on Human
          Rights, the replies or absence of replies from the States concerned, together
          with late replies. On account of severe budgetary constraints, the Special
          Rapporteur has been unable to publish these communications and the replies
          from States, contrary to the practice followed since the establishment of the
          mandate. This is highly detrimental to the paramount importance of
          information and its pedagogical function ultimately constitutes a form of
          censorship of information and greatly affects the Special Rapporteur's
          mandate. Accordingly, the Special Rapporteur has analysed the information and
          has made copies of the communications and the replies available to all, at the
          Centre for Human Rights.
          38. Since the fifty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights, the
          Special Rapporteur has sent communications to 46 States: Albania, Algeria,
          Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria,
          Cambodia, China (5), Cuba (2) , Cyprus, Egypt (2) , Eritrea, Germany, India,
          Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives,
          Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan,
          Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia,
          Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Sudan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan,
          Viet Nam, Yemen.
          39. As to urgent appeals, Egypt was sent such an appeal concerning
          Professor Nasr Abu Zeid, of Cairo University, who was tried on 13 June 1995 by
          a court for his writings on the interpretation of the Koran, which were deemed
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
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          anti-Islamic by Islamic plaintiffs. Professor Abu Zeid was allegedly declared
          an apostate by the court and required to divorce from his wife. The Egyptian
          authorities have not so far replied to the urgent appeal (to which a follow-up
          letter was sent) .
          40. In the case of China, the first urgent appeal concerned
          Father Chadrel Rimpoch , head of the committee to seek to identify
          the successor to the Panchen Lama, and his assistant, who were allegedly
          arrested at Chengdu on 17 May 1995. The monks of Tashilhampo Monastery are
          also reportedly compelled to undergo re-education sessions on the issue of
          choosing the successor to the Panchen Lama. The second urgent appeal
          concerned Mr. Yulo Dawa Tsering, a high-ranking Tibetan monk who was released
          on 6 November 1994, and whom the Special Rapporteur consulted during his visit
          to China. Mr. Yula Dawa Tsering is allegedly being held incommunicado in the
          Rabses district of Lhasa. The Special Rapporteur drew attention to the
          commitment made by the Chinese authorities during his visit that
          Mr. Yula Dawa Tsering would not suffer in any way as a result of his
          interview.
          41. The Special Rapporteur is still waiting for a reply from the Chinese
          authorities to these two urgent appeals (the first appeal having been followed
          by a reminder) .
          42. From the analysis of the communications, the following is a very general
          classification of the religious communities against which attacks have
          allegedly taken place:
          (a) Christianity: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Cambodia,
          China, Egypt, Lao People's Democratic Republic,
          Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal,
          Nicaragua, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia,
          Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Sudan, Turkey, Ukraine,
          Uzbekistan, Viet Nam;
          (b) Islam: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia,
          Mauritania, Myanmar, Turkey, Yemen;
          (c) Buddhism: China, Viet Nam;
          (d) Judaism: Belarus;
          (e) Other religions and
          religious groups:
          (i) Ahmadis: Bangladesh;
          (ii) Baha'is: Armenia;
          (iii) Pentecostals: Armenia;
          (iv) Jehovah's Witnesses: Armenia, Austria, Cyprus,
          Eritrea, Russian Federation,
          Singapore;
        
          
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          (v) Seventh Day Adventists: Armenia, Cuba;
          (vi) Hare Krishna: Armenia;
          (vii) Scientology: Germany;
          (viii) Church of Universal Life: Germany;
          (ix) All religions and religious groups: Algeria,
          Japan;
          (x) All religions and religious groups with the
          exception of the official religion: Argentina,
          Bolivia, Maldives.
          43. Analysing the communications by topic, the Special Rapporteur divided
          them into six categories of violations.
          44. The first category concerns violations of the principle of
          non-discrimination in religion and belief. It involves, first and foremost,
          allegations of discriminatory legislation and regulations in regard to
          religion and belief. For example, in Argentina, new, extremely strict
          provisions were allegedly introduced with respect to the activities of
          non-Roman Catholic religious organizations. Likewise, in Eritrea, a
          presidential decree provided for loss of civil rights for Jehovah's Witnesses
          because of their refusal to perform military service. Violations of the
          principle of non-discrimination can also be found in the allegations of denial
          of official recognition for religious groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses
          (Austria) , the Salvation Army (Belarus) and the Federation of Evangelical
          Churches (Belgium) . There are also said to be bureaucratic obstacles to
          registering religious groups in the Russian Federation. Finally, the Special
          Rapporteur addressed a communication to the authorities of Saudi Arabia
          concerning the publication of an article containing discriminatory remarks
          against Christians. Violations of the principle of non-discrimination are
          also found indirectly in the five other categories of attacks.
          45. The second category pertains to violations of the principle of tolerance
          in the field of religion and belief and reflects the Special Rapporteur's
          concern about religious extremism. Such extremism can affect an entire
          society (Algeria) , certain categories of individuals such as writers, artists,
          university professors (Egypt) , publishers (Mauritania) , lawyers (Yemen) , women
          (Bangladesh) and certain religious minorities (Bangladesh, Turkey) . It is
          important to note that religious extremism acts as a cancer in a religious
          group of any denomination and that it affects the members of that religious
          group just as much as those of other religious groups.
          46. The third category concerns violations of freedom of thought, conscience
          and religion or belief. The question of conscientious objection is directly
          involved in allegations of court prosecution (Cuba against the Seventh Day
          Adventists) , loss of civil rights (Eritrea) and imprisonment for refusal to
          perform military service (Belgium, Cyprus) and alternative service (Austria,
          Poland) . Other allegations raise the problem of unavailability of alternative
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
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          service for conscientious objectors (Bolivia, Poland) or the absence of
          legislation to give effect to constitutional provisions recognizing
          conscientious objection (Russian Federation) . The freedom to change religion
          has also been violated, as reflected in allegations of forced conversion
          (Indonesia, Myanmar, Sudan) , prohibitions on converting to another religion
          (Maldives, Sudan) and obstacles to conversion, particularly legislative,
          (Malaysia) under threat of arrest (Egypt, Morocco, Nepal) or expulsion
          (Morocco) .
          47. The fourth category concerns violations of the freedom to manifest one's
          religion or belief. It concerns allegations of control by the authorities
          over religious activities (Argentina, Cambodia, Japan, Turkey, Uzbekistan) ,
          in the form of prohibitions on some religious groups (Armenia, Belarus,
          Maldives, Germany, Morocco, Myanmar, Russian Federation, Ukraine) or certain
          professional groups such as the army (prohibition of religious services other
          than those of the official religion in the Bolivian army, prohibition on
          practising a religion for the families of military personnel in Cuba) under
          penalty of arrest (Cuba, Qatar) .
          48. The fifth category concerns violations of the freedom of disposal of
          religious property. The communications raise the question of the restitution
          of goods and property to religious communities (Albania, Belarus, Romania,
          Slovenia, Turkey) . Bureaucratic obstacles to the acquisition of property for
          certain religious groups are also reported in the Russian Federation. As to
          places of worship, problems relate to restrictive legislation and regulations
          as regards certain religious communities (Argentina, Cambodia, Maldives) ,
          closures by the authorities (Russian Federation, Uzbekistan) , destruction
          (India, Myanmar) and attacks (Turkey) . Concerning religious objects, there
          have been allegations of confiscation of religious books by the authorities in
          Armenia, Morocco and Uzbekistan.
          49. The sixth category concerns attacks on the right to life, physical
          integrity and security of person (clergy and believers) . The Special
          Rapporteur has had numerous cases referred to him of arrests, detention
          (Armenia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore,
          Viet Nam), attacks and intimidation (Armenia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar,
          Nicaragua, Singapore, Sudan, Turkey) and even abductions (Mexico) and
          assassinations (Myanmar, Turkey) . Such attacks also appear in the religious
          extremism category.
          50. As to States' replies, besides the urgent appeals already mentioned, it
          should be noted that the deadline has not yet expired for 29 States: Albania,
          Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Cuba (second
          allegation) , Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania,
          Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania,
          Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Ukraine, Yemen.
          si. of the 18 States for which the deadline has expired (Austria, Bangladesh,
          Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Lao People's
          Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey,
          Uzbekistan, Viet Nam) , seven have replied: Cyprus, Egypt, Eritrea, India,
          Nepal, Turkey, Viet Nam.
        
          
          E/cN. 4/1996/95
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          52. With reference to the contents of the replies, Cyprus has sent the
          Special Rapporteur information on its legislation, in particular the procedure
          for recognition of conscientious objector status, and a forthcoming initiative
          of the Attorney-General for a thorough study of that legislation to explore to
          what extent the Jehovah's Witnesses' demands might be satisfied and perhaps to
          submit a new bill on the subject if necessary.
          53. Egypt informed the Special Rapporteur of its legislation on freedom
          of belief and worship, on the status of Egyptian Christians and on the
          cases of Mr. I. Ali Mohammed Sharaf el-Din, Mr. Nashwaa Abd El Aziz and
          Mr. Hanan al-Safti.
          54. Eritrea expressed disagreement about the alleged violations of the rights
          of the Jehovah's Witnesses and transmitted a communique from the Ministry of
          the Interior. India attributed responsibility for the destruction of the
          Holy Shrine of Sharar-e-Sharif to mercenaries aided by Pakistan. Nepal
          confirmed the arrest and detention of individuals for attempted conversions.
          Turkey provided a detailed reply, in particular about the Assyrian-Chaldean
          community, the Halki Theological School, the Orthodox Patriarchate, the
          Armenian Orthodox Church and the Alevis. Viet Nam replied on particular
          cases, including those of Dinh Nhaim, Dang Phuc Tue, Thich Long Tn,
          Pham Ngoc An, Pham Van Tuong, Pham Van Xua and Nguyen Thi Em.
          55. In regard to late replies, the Special Rapporteur received letters from
          the following 17 States in response to his reminders: Albania (process of
          restitution of religious property and objects confiscated under the previous
          regime; use of the Greek language in the liturgy of the autocephalous Church
          of Albania) , Germany (legislation guaranteeing freedom of religion;
          non-recognition of Scientology as a religious community, in particular
          pursuant to a decision by the Federal Labour Court on the commercial aims of
          Scientology; no discrimination against it) , Bangladesh (non-discriminatory
          legislation in the religious field; cases of violations of the rights of
          religious minorities on non-religious grounds; no discrimination; case of
          Taslima Nasreen, in particular the Government's position sanctioning fatwahs ) ,
          Belarus (legislation guaranteeing freedom of religion and conscience and
          stipulating restrictions established by law and compatible with international
          law - maintenance of security, public order, etc.; legal procedure for
          registration of religious communities allowing for the possibility of appeal
          in court against refusal of registration; no religious intolerance of the
          Hare Krishna) , Greece (legislation on freedom of religion and conscience;
          prohibition against proselytism; conscientious objection linked to the
          opportunity to perform unarmed military service; no religious intolerance, in
          particular, of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the school system - case of
          Charalambos Aridreopoulos, Theofilos, Theofilos Tzenos, case of
          Jehovah Witnesses in Alexandroupolis, in Gazi, Malevizion, case of the Muslim
          minority in Thrace), Indonesia (legal prohibition on the Jehovah Witnesses and
          Baha'is; case of Djoni Purwoto, Sugiri Cahyono, Bambab Nahya Nirbita,
          Ambar Widi Atmoko), Islamic Republic of Iran (non-recognition of the Baha'i
          faith as a religion; inquiry into the assassination of clergymen Mikailian and
          Debbaj and arrests and trials of the three individuals allegedly responsible) ,
          Iraq (legislation guaranteeing freedom of religion; non-interference in the
          internal affairs of religious communities, in particular in the case of
          Assyrian-Chaldean priest E. Yuhanna who was dismissed by his bishop),
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
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          Kazakhstan (case of conscientious objector Roman Grechko, a Jehovah Witness
          sentenced to one year in prison because he was neither a member of a religious
          order nor an office holder in a religious organization; requirements necessary
          for recognition of conscientious objector status, Lebanon (legislation
          guaranteeing freedom of belief and worship; arrest and trial of those
          responsible for the attack against Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Zouk) ,
          Malaysia (prohibition of the Al-Arqam Movement for interference in
          administrative and political matters and practices deviating from the
          teachings of Islam; arrests followed by release of the Movement's leader and
          followers after they publicly admitted their errors), Myanmar (legislation
          guaranteeing freedom of religion; promotion of the various religions) ,
          Pakistan (no discrimination against the Ahmadis; inquiries into allegations of
          attacks against Ahmadis in Lahore; death of Tahir Iqbal in prison due to
          cardio-pulmonary arrest) , Philippines (massacre of Christians by Muslim
          extremists) , Rwanda (no religious intolerance, assassination of clergymen due
          more to their ethnic group and occasionally political views) , Sudan (positive
          measures as a result of the meeting between His Holiness the Pope and the
          President of the Republic, in particular repeal of the law relating to
          missionary societies, allocations of land to Christians for construction of
          churches, visa issue process made easier) , Turkey (no discrimination in the
          school system, in particular against the Assyro-Chaldeans, who are the victims
          of the PKK; legislation not authorizing the reopening of the Greek seminary on
          the Isle of Halki as a theological academy; protection of the rights of the
          Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities by the Treaty of Lausanne; freedom of
          worship and religious practice for the Protestants; no discrimination against
          the Alevis) .
          56. Pakistan and Bangladesh provided additional information to a reply sent
          last year.
          57. The Special Rapporteur is awaiting replies to his communications of last
          year from 22 States: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Benin, Canada, Cuba,
          Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel and occupied territories, Kenya, Liberia,
          Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, United Arab
          Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
          VI. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
          58. The implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of
          Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief is inseparable
          from the general question of respect for all human rights, which cannot be
          truly promoted in the absence of democracy and development. Consequently,
          action to promote human rights must involve, at one and the same time,
          measures to establish, strengthen and protect democracy as an expression of
          human rights at the political level, and measures to contain and progressively
          eliminate extreme poverty and to promote the right of individuals and peoples
          to development as an expression of human rights and human solidarity in the
          economic, social and cultural areas. In other words, as the World Conference
          on Human Rights put it, democracy, development and respect for human rights
          and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing and all
          human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated.
        
          
          E/cN. 4/1996/95
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          59. The Special Rapporteur feels that any separation of the elements of this
          tripartite concept - as well as any and all selectivity in this area - is
          likely to make the discourse on human rights more inconsistent and imprecise
          and thereby undermine human rights protection mechanisms and procedures.
          60. The protection of human rights is a legitimate concern of the
          international community because, in principle, it is at a level above
          contingencies and individual considerations, and its motives, as well as its
          ends, are by definition supposed to be and remain justified by the need to
          ensure respect for and enjoyment of human rights beyond all selectivity and
          all other goals or objectives. The Special Rapporteur feels it would be
          desirable to re-emphasize to all parties concerned the importance of respect
          for human rights and to reaffirm the need to ensure the protection of human
          rights, without any interference, exclusion or evasion, and to shelter them
          from anything that might undermine their foundations.
          61. Hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, including those motivated by
          religious extremism, are factors potentially capable of promoting the
          development of situations that may threaten or compromise international peace
          and security in one way or another and infringe human rights and the right of
          peoples to peace. The Special Rapporteur feels that preservation of the right
          to peace should encourage further development of international solidarity, so
          as to curb religious extremism of any kind by acting on both its causes and
          its effects, without selectivity or ambivalence, and by first of all defining
          a baseline of commonly accepted rules and principles of conduct and behaviour
          towards religious extremism.
          62. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur believes that places of worship
          should be reserved for religious rather than political purposes. As places of
          prayer and contemplation, they should be protected from political tensions and
          conflicts. This can only be assured if States adopt and implement appropriate
          legislation, provide for the neutrality of places of worship and protect them
          from the vagaries of politics and ideological and partisan commitments.
          63. Likewise, the legal structure of political parties should be defined so
          that the variables of politics do not impinge on the constant values of
          religion. Political parties expressing political sensitivities based on
          religion and using political and peaceful methods do not generally give cause
          for concern. But parties which act as mouthpieces or standard-bearers of
          religions are not always likely to promote tolerance and human rights. More
          and more States are therefore prohibiting the establishment of political
          parties exclusively or primarily based on religions.
          64. It is, of course, obvious that the financial dependence of political and
          religious movements on sources from abroad is likely to have serious
          consequences at all levels.
          65. The school system should also be sheltered from any political and
          ideological interference.
          66. The human mind is the source of all forms of intolerance and
          discrimination based on religion or belief, and should therefore be the main
          target of any action to curb such behaviour. Eduction could be the prime
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
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          means of combating discrimination and intolerance. It could make a decisive
          contribution to inculcating values pertaining to human rights and the
          development of tolerant and non-discriminating attitudes and behaviour, thus
          helping to spread the culture of human rights. The role of the schools in
          this educational effort is crucial.
          67. For these reasons, as he indicates in his discussion on the development
          of “a culture of tolerance”, the Special Rapporteur again stresses the
          importance of prevention in the effort to end intolerance and discrimination,
          hatred and violence, including violence motivated by religious extremism. The
          alarming number of attacks on persons, affecting their physical integrity,
          their freedom of thought, conscience and religion and their freedom to
          manifest their religion or their beliefs, together with attacks on places of
          worship, as reflected in the communications received by the Special Rapporteur
          since 1988, shows the overwhelming need to act at the prevention level. From
          this standpoint, the questionnaire on religious teaching in primary and
          secondary schools could constitute the first stage of a process aimed at
          consecrating a minimum of generally accepted values and principles that might
          serve as a basis for a common programme of tolerance and non-discrimination.
          The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on all States to become involved by
          replying to this questionnaire, to demonstrate their commitment to a culture
          of tolerance.
          68. It is essential to develop a whole system for promoting human rights and
          tolerance through education.
          69. The Special Rapporteur considers the elaboration of an international
          convention on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of
          discrimination based on religion or belief to be a necessary but premature
          step, given the present circumstances, and he advocates the establishment of
          an international policy of tolerance, associated with the development of a
          culture of tolerance, in teaching, the mass media and religious education.
          70. The reservations concerning religious freedom that have been expressed,
          albeit on rare and isolated occasions, should continue to be dealt with
          patiently and resolutely, through further dialogue. Such dialogue should take
          into account the facts, be based on internationally established principles,
          involve all the parties concerned, determine the potential for immediate
          action and set a long-term course without any concessions. Progress in this
          field is as much a matter of uncovering facts, motivations and concerns as of
          the need for human rights in general and religious freedom in particular to
          prevail. The only way to make progress in promoting religious freedom is to
          avoid categorical, inflexible attitudes, impulsive and ineffectual
          initiatives, ill-considered behaviour, blind obstinacy, gratuitous
          accusations, inconsistent judgements and grandiose but futile gestures. In
          other words, it is time to take a hard look at reality, in all its complexity,
          and work with it to change it gradually. The Special Rapporteur believes that
          any prejudgement in this field constitutes a wrong approach; any
          generalization is exaggerated and therefore an error, and any excessive action
          will ultimately be meaningless. The situations involved are highly complex
          and cannot readily be reduced to types and classifications and even less to
          slogans and cliches.
        
          
          E/cN. 4/1996/95
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          71. A culture of human rights, and particularly of tolerance, cannot be
          decreed. It is learned and absorbed progressively through initiatives and
          measures over the long term, which, although altering with time, should not be
          conjugated in a past tense, still less in the past historic. It is essential
          that negotiation should attain value status, that breakdowns should be avoided
          and dynamic compromises based on facts should be reached pragmatically. Such
          compromises make it possible to go beyond what is hateful and to move forward
          in the search for the best that can be achieved without ever failing - even
          when there is very little latitude or room to manoeuvre - to take a stand
          against tyranny, totalitarianism and everything else which is likely to impose
          uniformity of attitudes and behaviour, to deny freedom of conscience or to
          mortgage intelligence.
          72. The Special Rapporteur is particularly grateful for the efforts of those
          Governments which, since his mandate was established, have attempted to shed
          light on the allegations submitted to them, in accordance with the wish
          expressed by the Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1995/87 to the
          effect that Governments should respond “expeditiously to requests for
          information made to them through established procedures, so that the Special
          Rapporteurs in charge of thematic issues may carry out their mandates
          effectively” . The replies provided by Governments are invaluable in enabling
          the Special Rapporteur to reach an informed opinion on a given situation in a
          country with regard to religious freedom.
          73. As for the follow-up to allegations communicated to Governments and the
          replies received from them, the Special Rapporteur has reported his views and
          observations and has reverted to specific situations whenever the problems and
          manifestations of religious intolerance so required, or as long as Government
          replies - or absence thereof - failed to provide the necessary clarification.
          The Special Rapporteur will also in future study the question of Governments
          which do not furnish replies to the allegations transmitted to them
          (30 per cent rate of failure to reply for the period 1988-1995) . It is
          important for States and the principal United Nations bodies to take increased
          interest in this phenomenon.
          74. With reference to the time-frame for replies and in particular late
          replies, the Special Rapporteur would like to point out that, since he
          undertook his duties, Governments have had at least two months, which he
          considers essential for the necessary investigations and to reply to the
          allegations transmitted to them. The decision to grant Governments a
          reasonable time-frame for reply should not, however, lead to excessive delays.
          With regard to the new urgent appeal process introduced as part of the mandate
          relating to religious intolerance, the Special Rapporteur calls on States to
          cooperate by replying to all such appeals and no later than two weeks from the
          date of the request. The Special Rapporteur also hopes to strengthen State
          cooperation through consultations with their delegations in addition to visits
          to be made in situ .
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1996/95
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          75. The Special Rapporteur would also like to place special emphasis on the
          need - no matter what form the report on religious intolerance takes in the
          future - to ensure widespread dissemination of the information provided in the
          allegations transmitted to States and in the latters' responses. Information
          can educate and, in the final analysis, education is one of the only things
          that can make a difference today. Right now the stakes are high and the
          resources few. However legitimate the desire to save money, we must not pass
          up the opportunity to educate. Savings made at the expense of human rights
          represent a loss for human rights which results in less freedom, less
          tolerance and less humanity.
          Notes
          1/ If we add communications since the fifty-first session of the
          Commission on Human Rights, 319 communications have been sent to 88 States.
          2/ Including the current period since the fifty-first session of the
          Commission on Human Rights.
        
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Freedom of Religion