Religious Traditions and Human Rights

Human rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in its founding documents, agreements and in many general and specific treaties or major global conferences, including the Vienna (1993) Declaration, and as reaffirmed in various regional conventions, consider freedom of conscience, belief and religion and freedom of expression in their individual and collective levels as absolute individual rights. Therefore, these freedoms are part of the foundation of the irreducible human attribute.

For their part, most religions claim their support for human rights and acknowledge that they have contributed, through their values ??and teachings, to the emergence of the ethos and spirit that are the basis of international standards of human rights. This is particularly true in the case of Buddhism and Protestantism which consider freedom of religion and conscience among their founding values. And while the Jewish tradition claims to have always recognized human rights, Catholicism, and after two centuries of condemnation and hostility toward the modern formulation of human rights, ended up in the wake of the encyclical "Pacem in Terris "(1963) and the theological turn that formed the Second Vatican Council, by committing to their defense and promotion. Islam, on the other hand, has increasingly stressed the message of respect and tolerance advocated by the Quran towards other religions, despite sectarian abuses that occur within its tradition especially in times of crisis.

Although great progress has been achieved in the process of the universalization of human rights and their appropriation by various religious traditions, it is far from being complete. In many parts of the world, systematic human rights violations are perpetrated in the name of religious beliefs. Sometimes religions are being manipulated by political powers to challenge the cultural legitimacy and universality of human rights.

Furthermore, in deconstructing traditional forms of life in large areas of the globe, the shocks of techno-economic globalization have contributed to a political and cultural balkanization of the new formed entities. Also, many men and women marginalized, ghettoized and discriminated against see in this process the expression of a soulless globalization and try to protect themselves by taking refuge in closed cultural worlds, hostile to pluralism and exchange. This has caused increased tension between religious traditions and human rights.

Faced with such tensions, representatives of various religious traditions and human rights defenders (at state level, UN agencies and civil society) must mobilize to work toward a better relationship between religions, currents of thought and human rights.

The Marrakesh Forum will be an opportunity to take heads-on the dividing issues in order to develop the elements of the necessary consensus for the togetherness of humanity. Among these issues:

- How to resolve the differences in conceptions regarding individual / society relations that were the basis of many cultural objections to the perception of the person portrayed by the modern formulation of human rights?

- How to respond to sectarian abuses and various forms of exploitation of religion that jeopardize human rights and physical and moral integrity of persons, especially women and children?

- How to encourage religious authorities to work within their respective traditions to open hermeneutical workshops and conduct creative thinking from the perspective of harmonization which, while keeping the differences and the rich spiritual heritage of humanity, embrace diversity and reconcile religious beliefs with the universal principles of human rights?

- How to resolve conflicts sparked by evolutions in contemporary societies between the exercise of human rights and matters of morality or ethics, such as free choice of motherhood for women, sexual orientation for individuals or gender equality?

- How to ensure the rights of religious minorities and those of every person to the enjoyment of freedom of conscience, freedom to build their identity and express their thoughts in the respect of the thoughts and beliefs of others?

- How to articulate freedom of expression and thought in its relationship with the sacred? And how to meet the demands of increasingly strong religious and/or political institutions that claim a "right of religions"?

- How would the sincere and profound reconciliation of various religious traditions with human rights contribute to a better dialogue between religions, to peace and to a harmonious live-together for the whole humanity?


Individuals and Institutions Invited to a thematic forum "Religions and Human Rights"

(A Partial List)


- Higher Council of Ulemas

- The Rabita Mohammadia of Ulemas

- Dar al-Hadith al-Hassaniya Foundation

- Marrakech Council of Ulemas

- Human Rights Associations

- Women's Rights Associations

- Young Lawyers Association

- Forum for Truth and Justice,

- The DAMIR Movement

- The Tawhid wa al-Islah Movement

- The al-Adl wa al-Ihssan Movement

- Islamic education Inspectors’ Association

- The Catholic Church of Morocco (Archbishop Vincent Landel)

- The Evangelical Church of Morocco (President Samuel Amedro)

- The Rabbinate of Morocco

- The Orthodox Church of Morocco

- The Ecumenical Institute of Theology (al-Mouafaqa)

- al-Qadi Ayad University (Marrakech)

- al-Qarawiyyin University (Fez)


- The High Commissioner for Human Rights

- The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture

- The Council of Europe

- The International Federation for Human Rights

- The Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights

- The Islamic Organization for Education Science and Culture

- The Group of Muslim-Christian Research (GRIC)

- The Oasis International Foundation (Venice)

- The Buddhist Union of France

- The Believers without Borders Foundation

- The European Council of Religious Leaders

- The African Council of Religious Leaders

- The International Group for Study and Reflection on Women in Islam

- Al-Azhar University (Egypt)

- Adyan Foundation, Lebanon

- The Arab Institute for Human Rights (Tunis)

- The National Center Bahai'i (Paris)

- The Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (Rome)

- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (Jeddah)

- The Cairo Institute for the Study of Human Rights


- Matthieu Ricard (Buddhist monk and advisor to the Dalai Lama)

- Mohamed Mojtahid Shabastari (Iranian theologian, University of Tehran)

- Hans Küng (German theologian)

- Delphine Horvilleur (Female rabbi, host of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France)

- Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Senegali philosopher)

- Hmaida Neiffer (Tunisian theologian)