Geneva, Switzerland, Mar 24, 2010 / 02:33 am
The leader of the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations in Geneva has advocated a form of religious freedom that does not require “complete secularization” but sees religion as a “bridge” to human rights. He also criticized laws against “defamation” as vague and open to abuse targeting religious minorities.
Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, addressed the Human Rights Council on Monday. His remarks responded to the follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration.
“Increasing instances of ridiculing religion, of lack of respect for religious personalities and symbols, of discrimination and killings of followers of minority religions, and a generalized negative consideration of religion in the public arena damage peaceful coexistence and hurt the feelings of considerable segments of the human family,” he explained.
Religious freedom should protect the personal and collective exercise of faith and convictions, he continued. Furthermore, religious values are “a bridge for and to all human rights” by allowing a person to orient himself or herself to “what is true and real.”