It took centuries for society to recognize that religious freedom is a fundamental freedom and a basic human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written and adopted by acclamation by the United Nations in 1948, after the tragedy of World War II. Article 18 gives one of the best definitions of religious freedom we have ever had. It states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
The 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief set out in clear terms the expectations required of signatories and amplified the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The International Religious Liberty Association is committed to promulgating the principles enshrined in these documents. Attention must go beyond mere assent to the declaratory principles, and must seek to change attitudes and opinions in all parts of the world. Only as public opinion also supports the fundamental rights and actions enshrined in these documents will they have a real impact on the elimination of intolerance and discrimination that so often blight the experience of many around the globe.
Included below are links to our annual journal, Fides et Libertas, as well as to the full text of the United Nations human rights documents and to several websites we hope you will find useful.