QUESTION OF: Empowering minority religions (Stigma)


CO-SUBMITTERS:Australia, Austria, Cameroon, Greece, Eritrea, ITALY, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, UNDP, United Kingdom, United States of America.


Affirming the December 18, 1992 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities which notes that member states should “take measures in the field of education, in order to encourage knowledge of the history, traditions, language and culture of the minorities existing within their territory,”

Reaffirming the principles set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Emphasizing that clause 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance,”

Defining a ‘minority’ after the definition provided by The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as, “An ethnic, religious or linguistic minority is any group of persons which constitutes less than half of the population in the entire territory of a State whose members share common characteristics of culture, religion or language, or a combination of any of these,” 

Deploring the persecution, discrimination and violence that many religious minorities are frequently subjected to in their home communities,

Bearing in mind the 2019 Pew Research Center report titled “A Closer Look at How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World,” which documents the rise of governments with high levels of restrictions on religion,

  1. Calls for a biennial interreligious summit hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) featuring multiple representatives of the world’s various religious denominations – both major and minor – to promote understanding and acceptance of different religions; 
  2.  Proposes that the United Nations creates and funds a cross-cultural educational exchange and scholarship program to provide the global youth with more opportunities to study abroad with a specific emphasis on:
    1. Diversifying the student populations in higher educational institutions
    2. Providing opportunities for students from less economically developed countries to obtain a higher education in diverse religious and cultural environments;
  3. Suggests all member nations work with the UNAOC to establish a program that coordinates exchanges between comfortably participating religious congregations where people can attend service at various places of worship with a priority of acquainting people with local minority religions at risk of persecution; 
  4. Urges all member nations to educate their citizens on minority religions as well as the importance of protecting and empowering them by adapting a standardised curricula developed by the UNESCO, through its International Bureau of Education (IBE) Documentation and Information Unit, taking into consideration global cultural sensitivity with modules including:  
    1. Optional day-time and night-time classes titled ‘World Religions’ that will focus on
      1. Providing education on major religions and minor ones that are less well known
      2. Raising awareness about current challenges faced by minority religions
    2. An adapted ‘History’ class angled towards students, emphasizing how persecution and stereotyping of minorities – including minority religions – can result in genocides such as but not limited to:
      1. The genocide of European Jews that occurred between 1941-1945
      2. The genocide of Armenians that occurred during World War I
      3. The 1994 Rwandan genocide
    3. A ‘Social Studies’ class that is established in the curriculum of primary and secondary educational institutions which includes a unit focusing on how a country’s government has an obligation to protect and empower minority religions existing within its borders;
  5.  Endorses religiously-tolerant plans for the official registration, verification, and equalization for different religions and beliefs to ensure the fair exercise of freedom to worship by ways such as:
    1. Examining the validity of the system of belief based on standards of the extent of accordance with the national social system and customs
    2. Ensuring that dominant religions do not engage in oppressive practices or activities that infringes and usurps the right of religion of other citizens;
  6. Encourages all member nations to establish an advisory committee consisting of representatives from all the country’s religious groups as well as human rights lawyers in order to counsel politicians on passing legislation that would protect and empower minority religions;
  7. Strongly urges all member nations to take a zero-tolerance policy with those who are found to be utilizing religion to advocate for violent extremism or any sort of hate towards members of other religions by:
    1. Imposing fines for minor offenses
    2. Penalizing more serious offenders with jail time;
  8. Asks all member nations to collaborate with the OHCHR to ensure that their national legislation criminalizing religious hate crimes protects members of all religious communities especially those belonging to minority religions.