At the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, together with several other NGOs and officials, we participated at the United Nations, Geneva, at the conference "A civil society commitment". Some of us questioned during the past years why Freedom of Religion and Belief needs special protection, apart from freedom of speech, opinion, assembly etc. The question seems to find support in the vague and culturally biased understanding of what religion or belief is, especially when it comes to new religious movements. The entire conference was a source of inspiration and opening up to a new level of networking in the field of human rights. Here we present Soteria's International contribution, video and text.
On 10 December 2018, we celebrated the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the Palace of Nations of the United Nations in Geneva.
The Conference was organized by CAP Liberté de Conscience* and Fundacion VIDA* with the support of the:
-Permanent Representation of Estonia,
-Permanent Mission of Finland in Geneva,
-Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations Office,
There were more than 120 attendees including 20 Representatives of Permanent Missions at the U.N. and 25 speakers/moderators.
The general theme was: A Commitment from Civil Society.
In August 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities designated Bitter Winter a “foreign hostile website” for publishing secret documents and news reports about the CCP’s suppression of religious beliefs and human rights violations. The authorities have retaliated by launching repeated attempts to hack the website, and by targeting reporters and contributors.
Since August, at least 45 Bitter Winter contributors in mainland China have been arrested for filming incidents of, or gathering news about, the CCP’s persecution of religious freedom and violation of human rights. Reporters are usually detained and interrogated on the charge of “divulging state secrets” or “involvement in infiltration by foreign forces.” Some reporters have been sent to “legal education centers” to undergo mandatory indoctrination, while others have been tortured and abused.
We welcome all online participants to join as online video conference on the platform Zoom (https://zoom.us/). Zoom works very well for sharing video. If you are not yet familiar with this platform you can download the app to computer or mobile device. To create an account is for free.
You can join on https://zoom.us/j/958901246, or log onto zoom and enter Meeting ID: 958 901 246
We will open the official video zoom conference at 13.45, and urge you to join us in good time before we start at 14.00:)
Thank you for joining us!
Saturday, 8th December, Soteria International offers the 2018 Spiritual Human Rights conference to review the UDHR from a spiritual perspective.
The UDHR has inspired judicial frameworks and international law. The UDHR has also come to serve as a standard framework, as to what society should provide and state secure for the individual.
The Spiritual Human Rights 2018 conference offers speakers and participants to reflect and review the full potential of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as to comment on its content.
Place: Verdens Kultur Centret, Copenhagen
Time: 14.00 – 16.00
Date: 8 December 2018, Saturday
The conference is also offered as an online WEBINAR – you find the connecting link on our site soteriainternational.org and Facebook – Soteria Int’l.
Welcome to the Spiritual Human Rights conference 2018!
On December 10th we will be celebrating at the UN Geneva the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR and look for people willing to come, who were born on 10th December 1948.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information, to:
Secretary General of the United Nations
United Nations Committee for Human Rights
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
President of the European Commission
President of the United States of America
President of the Community of Independent States
President of the Russian Federation
President of the Republic of Italy
President of the Republic of France
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
President Xi Jinping,
we are addressing You, as the guide for the widest and most populous country on earth.
We are a group of NGOs that have been working for years to protect freedom of belief, a fundamental human right granted by a number of norms of international laws, first and foremost article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and also by article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China of 1982 as well as by article 53 of the Common Program of 1949.
Chinese people’s freedom to practice religions they believe in, is consistently challenged and trampled on.
Indo-Canadian engineer retired, Neelam Makhija, 71, spends two months in prison and is held against his will in France for two and a half years. His crime, being a friend of a coach who hosted, once a year, meditation seminars! Despite his acknowledged innocence before the court, he cannot obtain compensation (financial, moral) for the damages suffered.
On 10/09/18, by Jean-Luc Martin-Lagardette
Neelam Makhija, 71, shares his life between Mumbai (India) and Toronto (Canada). Of Indian origin, he is also a Canadian citizen. An engineer in third cycle electronics (MSEE) and holder of a master of business administration (MBA), he founded and directed for 23 years in Canada a company specialized in high-tech electronic projects. Retired since 2006, he spends his time between Canada and India where his two daughters and grand-children live.
SOTERIA INTERNATIONAL contribution to OSCE - HDIM 2018 - WORKING SESSION 7:
Fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
13th September 2018:
HOW UNIVERSAL IS THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS TODAY?
• Soteria International recommends ODIHR and the OSCE member states to explore how to guarantee the universality of human rights as universal principles, rather than cultural expressions.
• Soteria International recommends ODIHR and the OSCE member states to explore how religion and spiritual systems from a universal perspective may provide answers to fundamental human needs and tools for developing human potentials.
• Soteria International recommends the OSCE member states to the educational system to play a major role in reintegrating religion and belief as a constructive part of our lives. By integrating and understanding religions and belief systems by their universal principles, we overpass the differences between cultures, traditions and religions.
At the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we would like to ask: How Universal is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights today?
Especially when it comes to Freedom of Religion and Belief we find great confusion, where even in the heart of Europe we find that what would pass as civil service in a secular frame (such as coaching your child's football team), when practiced in a religious context (offering one’s service as karma yoga) can be tried as a criminal offence (human trafficking).
SOTERIA INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO OSCE HDIM 2018
WORKING SESSION 5- RULE OF LAW
12 September 2018
Today, rule of law is challenged not only from arbitrary application of the law within certain OSCE member states, but increasingly by how the tools regulating the interaction between different national judicial systems lacks a precision to hinder abuses and misinterpretations. Thus, the very tools for securing the rule of law open a risk for its corruption.
1- Soteria International recommends the ODHIR and all OSCE member states to embrace an investigation into stopping cultural bias to influence the application of tools of international judicial collaboration.
2- Soteria International recommends international bodies and all OSCE member states to scrutinize the frameworks regulating international judicial collaboration in general, and especially with regards to the European Arrest Warrant, in order to prevent human rights infringements in the margins between one national judicial system and another.
We live in world of increasing international collaboration. In trade, science and art, international collaboration is carried by its own mechanisms, some cultures being inter alias more compatible than others. The tools of judiciary international collaboration do not have the privilege of letting an organic process develop, but is regulated by imposed regulations. The bluntness of these regulations seem to open for abuses and misinterpretations, intentional or not.