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IRLA Secretary-General Promotes Human Rights on National Swiss Radio

Microphone with On Air sign

"Religious freedom is one of the most sensitive human rights and it is not promoted and defended by the UN as it should be."

13 February 2009, Geneva, Switzerland—Dr John Graz, Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association, was interviewed by Serge Carrel from the National Swiss Radio (Radio Suisse Romande) in their radio studio in Geneva.

The interview concerning the United Nations and Human Rights focused on the issue of religious freedom in the world and the role of the United Nations. Is the UN burying human rights and religious freedom instead of promoting and defending them? Graz acknowledged that 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations it is challenged today by some member countries of the UN, including members of the Human Rights Council.

“Religious freedom is one of the most sensitive human rights and it is not promoted and defended by the UN as it should be,” Graz stated. But he underlined the importance of the UN, and especially the Human Rights Council, as an organization which creates a unique space where nations and NGOs can meet and talk about religious freedom and denounce violations by mentioning the names of countries. If a country persecutes its people because they don’t have—according to the government—the right religion or belief, it is in fact condemned by all the fundamental United Nations documents. The UN is a space where human rights are on the top of the agenda. For NGOs, like the International Religious Liberty Association, it is the place where they can meet government representatives and talk naturally about human rights and religious freedom.

The United Nations is an image of the nations of the world today. But imagine the world without the UN, without a place where nearly all governments of the world are represented and accessible? “If you speak about religious freedom in the Human Rights Council,” Graz concluded, “you are at home even if you face opposition and political diversion.”

[IRLA News Staff]