United Nations on Aidlr

United Nations on Aidlr

The International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty has been more critical to the promotion and realization of the right to freedom of religion or belief than perhaps any other since its founding in 1946.

June 08, 2018 | Bern, Switzerland. | C.Cozzi, CD-EUDNews.

The EUDNews periodically receives information on the excellent work that the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) department and the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (AIDLR) is doing at both the regional and international levels. Due to the valuable information we know on the continued “battle” by our colleagues in favor of human rights and religious freedom, and due to the Adventist Church’s need to know of the importance and results of this amazing work on Religious Liberty, the benefits of which can be seen and have come for many people, we start a series of interviews with Dr Liviu Olteanu, Secretary General of AIDLR and PARL Director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-European Region (EUD).

Dr Liviu Olteanu, through his position as Secretary General of the AIDLR, meets important and relevant international stakeholders such as public officials, presidents, ministers, ambassadors, politicians, and religious leaders, along with other international and regional actors. He organizes or participates in international summits, forums, symposiums, and international conferences, where he has met and talked with some of the highest international representatives, including: Thorborn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament (EP), Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Comission and …. .  Dr. Olteanu also keeps periodical correspondence with worldwide officials and he has sent and received letters from Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (EC), representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Royal Houses, and several other important personalities, all in order to advocate for the defense of religious liberty at any level, and not only for our European Region.  

In the context of his untiring and important work and relevant meetings, Dr. Olteanu met and talked with Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; Adama Dieng, Under-Secretary-General Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General; and other heads of the UN including the Deputy Secretary General, the president of the UN Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Head of Offices, and worldwide ambassadors.

Dr. Olteanu had relevant meetings with Heiner Bielefeldt, the previous Special Rapporteur, and with current Special Rapporteur of the UN on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed.

These contacts are important in terms of the cooperation and collaboration offered by the AIDLR as the frontline in this crusade in favor of all those that could be under pressure of the discrimination and lack of freedom.

With this series of interviews to the AIDLR Secretary General, we want to keep the Adventist Church informed on the present and future of religious liberty, a topic that the Adventist Church is greatly interested in. Moreover, we want to let our readers know the significance, and the results, of these summits, conferences, and seminars that the AIDLR organizes or participates in. We also want to inform them about the advocacy and lobbying that is going to be done for the defense and promotion of religious liberty that could affect the Adventist members and other believers.

The following is an interview with Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the UN.

EUDNews: Dr. Olteanu, you recently had a very interesting and special interview with Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the United Nations.[1] Can you share with us his remarks on the Adventist Church and the AIDLR ?

Dr. Shaheed remarked on the extremely important action of AIDLR in favor of Religious Liberty. He said:

“It has been my privilege and honour to have this opportunity to discuss the priorities of my mandate and exchange ideas with the distinguished members of the AIDLR, an association that has been more critical to the promotion and realization of the right to freedom of religion or belief than perhaps any other since its founding in 1946.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur continued, saying: “It is no exaggeration to say that without the vision, efforts, and persistence of Dr Jean Nussbaum, Eleanor Roosevelt, and other members of AIDLR, the development of the normative framework related to the protection and promotion of this foundational right would not be where it is today.  And that is to say nothing of the critical and exemplary role that AIDLR has played in bridging the gap between civil society and human rights bodies, both at the national and international levels, including UN human rights mechanisms such as my mandate.”

Dr. Shaheed shared a message with the AIDLR representatives: “My message to the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty, and the readers of the “Conscience of Liberty” journal, is to continue the amazing and tireless work of the organization with an eye towards deepening its efforts to combat the root causes of religious intolerance throughout the world. This work is especially needed in light of the trying times in which we currently live, and the increasingly negative worldwide trends suggesting rising levels of violent extremism, populism and nativism. As Dr. Nussbaum wrote in 1948, ‘[t]he work lying ahead is immense, but will certainly not go beyond our strength and means if everybody gets down to work, with courage.’ ”


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