ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, March 24   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Bible literacy
How often do you read the Bible?







SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Julia Doxat-Purser
 

Celebrating Human Rights?

We should defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For, if we do not stand up against their erosion or redefinition, we will be consenting by default to enormous injustice.

FEATURES AUTHOR Julia Doxat-Purser 17 DECEMBER 2018 11:00 h GMT+1
Photo: Andrii Podilnyk (Unsplash, CC0)

On 10th December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).



The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) chose to mark this 70th anniversary by issuing various social media statements in the week coming up to the actual day, as well as to promoting freedom of religion or belief in Brussels with our partners from the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination.



But are we right to celebrate this Declaration? Are we right to treasure it and also the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), ratified 5 years later? There are a few reasons for these questions marks.



Firstly, some question the idea of a supranational body, be it the United Nations or the Council of Europe having the right to “interfere” by criticising (or in the case of Europe, making legal judgements against) what happens within nations. Surely every nation is sovereign, every culture is precious, every country should be free to run things their way?



Indeed, national sovereignty and culture and ways of doing things are important. But the UDHR covers the basic foundations for a free, safe and dignified life. There is nothing wrong with the rights mentioned in the text, nor in the ECHR. All people, without exception, deserve these rights. As the UDHR text says, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world...”



Each individual deserves these rights because of the dignity each has. We know that this dignity comes from the fact that each is made in the image of God and, therefore, has infinite value. These rights are inalienable. They are not to be given merely when a government chooses. They are far more important than government policy. That is why sometimes it needs a voice from outside a nation to point out what is wrong.



But this pressure from abroad can be misused. For example, UDHR Article 16 gives men and women the right to marry and states that “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” This is fantastic. But some are now pushing for this to be changed to allow for same sex marriage and parenting. This may be democratically accepted in some nations but it is not for the UN to put pressure on other nations to agree.



Similarly, UDHR Article 26 para 3 says Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”  But many in the West argue that this cannot possibly mean that parents can ensure their children are not exposed to lessons that violate their beliefs, for example religious or ethical. And some argue that the right to life (UDHR Article 3) only starts at birth but the text does not say that. These human rights are being devalued.



The point of the UDHR is that the rights are “universal,” they stand the test of time because it is impossible for any person who values all other human beings to object to them. The United Nations and the Council of Europe should resist pressure from some nations to push others to limit, devalue or redefine their meaning.



These human rights documents are also questioned within nations, redefining or limiting them in their pursuit of a particular agenda.  Clearly, some signatories to the UDHR shamefully allow, for example, torture or unfair legal processes. UDHR Article 14 para 1 states Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” But increasingly, we see governments, with the support of their voters, rejecting this human right by not giving “illegal migrants” a safe and fair chance to argue their asylum case.



 



THE IMORTANCE OF FoRB AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION



The EEA mainly focused on the importance of freedom of religion or belief and of expression (UDHR Article 18 and 19) since these continue to be our public policy priority.



These rights underpin the others. They give all people the right to follow their conscience and to live by the dictates of their conscience.  



 



The Global Charter of Conscience.

In our increasingly plural societies, these freedoms are put under more pressure but they become even more important.  How we can uphold these rights and live together with our deepest differences is explored in the Global Charter of Conscience.



No human rights document is perfect, nor is the interpretation of these rights. But we should celebrate and defend the UDHR and ECHR. For, if we do not stand up against their erosion or redefinition, we will be consenting by default to enormous injustice. So we thank God for those who created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago.



Julia Doxat-Purser, Socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA). These article first appeared on the EEA website. Re-published with permission.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Celebrating Human Rights?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process

The Brussels representative of the European Evangelical Alliance offers a Christian perspective on the crisis: “We can’t reduce people to just a number that needs to be controlled”.

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

 
Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!” Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!”

Bulgarian evangelicals protested peacefully on November 11 against a draft law which could severely restrict religious freedom of faith minorities. Churches rallied in Sofia and other cities after the Sunday worship services.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
VIDEO Video
 
Romania: God’s Word among Roma people Romania: God’s Word among Roma people

Gypsies are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Romania. According to 2013 estimates, the Roma groups make up 10% of the country's population, accounting for about 1.5 million people.

 
Latin American leaders unite to fight against imposition of gender ideology Latin American leaders unite to fight against imposition of gender ideology

Christian leaders from all over Latin America are concerned about the progress of gender ideology agendas in the region. Many are joining together in public demonstrations and training events.

 
How do fake news spread? How do fake news spread?

Tony Watkins, Coordinator of the Lausanne Media Engagement Network.

 
Lindsay Brown: The encouraging advance of the gospel in Spain Lindsay Brown: The encouraging advance of the gospel in Spain

Church planting, the amount of books authored by Spanish evangelicals and the growth of the Christian student movement in the last decades, are some of the marks underlined by Lindsay Brown.

 
What do Christian communication and science communication have in common? What do Christian communication and science communication have in common?

“As Christians, we also try to communicate a detailed and often slightly technical message”, says Kay Carter, Director of Communications of Tyndale House (UK).

 
Church planting in Strasbourg Church planting in Strasbourg

A video on how evangelicals are planting churches in Strasbourg (France).

 
Christians, resilience and a post-Christian culture Christians, resilience and a post-Christian culture

Lindsay Brown: “The biblical pattern is not one of speed, but of steady sowing and gradual reaping in due course”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.