Justice, Human Rights & Reconciliation
Religions for Peace affirms our religiously rooted commitment to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a foundation for a just and harmonious society. Human rights are an essential part of the total and holistic Peace we seek. Religions for Peace advocates for human rights, including freedom of religion. We work to advance a more robust notion of citizenship as well as the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on the need to adopt “measures to criminalize incitement of imminent violence based on religion or belief” and the protection of vulnerable communities.
Religious Freedom and Protection of Minorities
As a wave of struggle swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Religions for Peace– Middle East and North Africa Council convened more than 70 senior religious leaders who committed to stand in solidarity with all vulnerable communities in MENA, to advocate for full religious freedom, and to call on all religious believers to become a united force to help ensure that governments honor, protect and serve all citizens without exception. To operationalize this, Religions for Peace– Middle East and North Africa Council developed materials related to the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/8, religious freedom, citizenship and protection of minorities and equipped the religious communities in the region to take concrete actions.
Burundi has experienced decades of civil conflict which caused forced displacement, and hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees over the past 40 years. In addition, the conflict has impeded economic development and despite the peace accord, a culture of mistrust, fear and insecurity still exists. In response, Religions for Peace implemented initiatives that built trust and social harmony among the conflicting parties by addressing the issue of land disputes. Religions for Peace, in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Council of Burundi, engaged, trained and equipped key religious leaders– men, women and youth – to advance the national peace building processes by helping settle land disputes as a part of local community reconciliation efforts. Out of the 16,848 land conflicts recorded, 8,101 people amicably agreed to share the land through the facilitation of the National Land Commission, some of which were helped by religious leaders. This effort was part of a larger Religions for Peace initiative that addressed the causes and consequences of instability and conflict in Burundi.