GENEVA, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, December 22, 2022 – At a time when human rights are under threat all over the world, both in so-called developing countries and in countries whose motto is linked to human rights, unity among people of faith is more than necessary and desirable.
“On the day when we can fully trust each other, there will be peace on Earth” wrote L. Ron Hubbard, and it is on this path that last December 9th, representatives of 6 religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Scientology and Sikhism), representing the antic and the new with circa 2.95 billion parishioners, gathered at the United Nations to speak of Faith and Human Rights, in the celebration of the 74th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). This rich panel was moderated by Rev. Eric Roux, a Global Trustee for Europe of the United Religions Initiative (URI), probably the largest interfaith network existing today.
Among the speakers were Wissam al-Saliby, Director of the Human Rights Office in Geneva for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the largest evangelical organization in the world, who stated that “Biblical justice is rooted in the very character of God. Our mandate to work for justice and to love our neighbour is the outworking of that character. As we celebrate 74 years of the UDHR, I am reminded of the Christian teaching that every human bears the Image of God. For this reason, humans have worth and value over and above anything else in creation. And for this reason I believe we have Article 1 of the UDHR: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
The panel discussion was followed by Thinlay Chukki, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Tibet Bureau, and therefore Tibetan Buddhism, who echoed the importance of “respecting people from all faiths and people with no faith”. Chukki highlighted the “centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist practice and teaching” and stressed the philosophy that the “life of every sentient being including animals are precious”. Representative Thinlay noted that “the teachings and messages of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have always emphasised the need to look at the world as one large family who aspires for happiness and want no sufferings” and she finally acknowledged the presence of Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile for Europe, Thupten Gyatso, amongst the participants.
Gursharan Singh, General Secretary Sikhi Sewa Society, continued the panel by saying: “how can we achieve a culture of peace? If we only preach about living in harmony, we will never achieve our goal. A flower drawn on a sheet of paper may be beautiful but we will never be able to smell its fragrance.[…] Every religion has foundations that could be universally acceptable. As advised by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism, if we can put together all these foundations from the world’s major religions we might be able to build principles that could become one of the fundamental approaches to maintaining peace on this planet”.
On behalf of Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world, Dr Lakshmi Vyas, PhD and President of Hindu Forum of Europe said in her recorded presentation “Human rights are natural rights and are presumed as directly given by God. Accordingly, no power in the world can pull that out. Individuals are created to live in this world with others and have a duty to love their neighbours. The Hindu tradition focuses on the duties and rights parallel … The appreciation of human rights in Hinduism does not merely come from the Hindu theological thoughts but is also written in Hindu scriptures that have existed for centuries before the birth of the concept of human rights.”
Next speaker was Iván Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs & Human Rights, and who also chairs the UN ECOSOC-recognized foundation MEJORA (Foundation for the Improvement of Life Culture and Society. Arjona explained:
“For more than 40 years Scientologists have promoted and taught the UDHR). It was In 1969, when L. Ron Hubbard reprinted the UDHR in the Church’s Freedom Magazine and wrote that ‘The United Nations came up with the answer. An absence of human rights stained the hands of governments and threatened their rules. Very few governments have implemented any part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These governments have not grasped that their very survival depends utterly upon adopting such reforms and thus giving their peoples a cause, a civilization worth supporting, worth their patriotism’.”
And lastly, to cover the subject from the view of Islam, was Boumediène Benyahia, Islamologist – Secretary General and scientific referent of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland (COIS) and Director of the Institute of the Word (Kalima), said that:
“I must begin by simply saying the following: the culture of peace is non-negotiable. We are not here to negotiate. How to make peace? It is non-negotiable. It is a sacredness that is imposed on everyone, whether we like it or not … The word Islam underlies this enduring cornerstone for humanity which is peace. It is cultivated. How is this peace cultivated? It is cultivated by the seeds of the wisdom of all religions, the spiritualities attached to them, and all societies and individuals of the seed. From the seed to the fruit tree which itself, in turn, will nourish, we hope, all souls in a perennial way.”
One of the highlights of the event was having the direct representatives of two contemporary religious leaders, Thinlay Chukki, representative of Dalai Lama, and Jetmira Cremonesi, representative in Europe of L. Ron Hubbard (Founder of Scientology), melting in a hug and exchanging potential ways of cooperation to induce peace through youth and human rights.
The event was organized by Organizzazione per i Diritti Umani e la Tolleranza and Fundación para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad and co-sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance, Coordination of Associations and People for Liberty of Conscience, and Fundacion Vida-Grupo Ecologico Verde.
C est un pas géant. Bravo à tous les intervenants
Nous sommes tous d’ accord de vivre dans un environnement non dangereux.
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