Third Human Rights Weekend

Third Human Rights Weekend

The International Centre for Religious Freedom and Public Affairs (CILRAP) organised its third Human Rights Day at the Campus Adventiste du Salève.

December 16, 2019 | Collonges-sous-Salève, France. | CD-EUDNews. Jean-Jacques Henriot.

The third Human Rights weekend held in Collonges sous Salève, France, started Sabbath morning with Pastor Mario Brito's message (President of the Inter-European Division and the International Association for the Defence of Religious Freedom (AIDLR). In his message, Pastor Brito, recalled the question that a lawyer asked Jesus in Luke's Gospel (10.25-29): "Who is my neighbour?"  The answer is written: "He who has shown compassion.”

"We are therefore invited to compassion and thus work for the dignity of man”, said Pastor Brito, asking the audience: “what can we do to reveal the character of God, of this God who loves all men?”

The theme of the afternoon symposium was: "Antisemitism, Islamophobia and attacks on churches... what to do?".  Dr. John Graz, director and organizer of the CILRAP symposium, introduced this theme and recalled some facts that unfortunately concern us today.

Afterwards, Dr. Graz presented the speakers of the symposium

The first speaker, Pedro Torres, president of AIDLR-France, a specialist in social network, insisted that this structure is undeniably the instrument of today and that it should not be undervalued despite the misuse made by some. It is therefore important to use social networks to transmit our values, while protecting us from malicious acts.

The following speaker, Ivan Dos Santos, a lawyer at the University of Geneva, pointed out that the law, which governs civil society, condemns actions and not opinions. “We must therefore accept criticism, but not attack people” said Dr. Dos Santos. The law has the means to punish criminal acts in matters of religion and beliefs. It is therefore sufficient to apply the law or better still, to deal with the problem at its source to avoid recourse to the law.

Dr. Gabriel Monet, dean of the Adventist Faculty of Theology, recalls the accusation that makes Israel a ‘decided people’ is based on a misinterpretation of biblical text. In addition, “the Bible invites us to look positively at other religions or beliefs because they potentially contain some truth. What we must hope for is respect for others, exchange communication, even actions and experiences” affirmed Dr. Monet.

Dr. Michaël Wiener, specialist on North Africa and the Middle East for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, finally gave an overview of the UN's actions in favour of freedom of religions and beliefs.

He talked about the role and importance of special reporters. He recalled the Rabat Plan to distinguish hatred, a problem that must be addressed, from useful criticism as well as the 18 commitments of the "Faith for Rights".

The panel that followed showed the need for preventive and training actions. Dr. Jean-Philippe Lehmann, Executive Director of the Adventist Campus, concluded the symposium by quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer who basically said: “silence in the face of evil is in itself evil...”

The full day ended with a concert by the group Sa'Voie Gospel, music for rights! It continued the next day, Sunday, December 8, with a march of "La Foi pour les Droits" from Geneva to Collonges-sous-Salève, initiated from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and organized by the International Centre for Religious Freedom and Public Affairs, in partnership with the Geneva Interfaith Platform.

During the week of December 15 to 21 we will elaborate on the subject. Collonges-sous-Salève Adventist Campus will be hosting the second meeting of  UN experts to develop concrete proposals to enable faith and rights to work together.

There will be 35 experts participating in this seminar from the Middle East, North America and Europe, representing universities, governments and international organizations. Among them there will be two special reporters.

Dr. Graz confirmed that “this seminar led by the United Nations on an Adventist campus is a historical event that illustrates the excellent cooperation between this institution and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the defense and promotion of religious freedom throughout the world.”


Pictures: 1. Pastor Mario Brito, President of the Inter-European Division and the International Association for the Defence of Religious Freedom (AIDLR). 2. Dr. John Graz, Director and organizer of the CILRAP symposium

Back to list