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Human Rights and Religion & Its Responsibility

By Ashin Nyanika
Sub: Buddhism and Human Rights Let: Miss Moitrey 2nd Semester, 4th Year, BA, MCU

World Situation: a critical challenge in our globally interconnected world. Human Rights: still difficult to solve the problem the majority of the worlds population is religious, the positive role which religion can play in human rights.

Several approaches could be brought to bear on the relationship between religion and human rights a relationship which could be evaluated either positively or negatively. how religions might be used as a positive resource in human rights discourse? In what ways can world religions be used as a positive resource for human rights?

Tensions Between HR & Religion

o Religion tradition worldviews & Different cultures

o Religious system & The nation of universal HR o Democratic political system & Religious inspired system of governance

Complex relationship between religious freedom and violent religious extremism.

Religion has been used as a weapon of war in places.

Article 18: 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.

Suppose the U.N. collapses tomorrow and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights becomes a dead letter. Could it then mean that as human beings we have now ceased to possess human rights?

Religion also has a strong role to play in advancing human rights. For, more clearly than ever in our global world, the Golden Rule found in all the world religions.

An implicit doctrine of human rights in Buddhism? Is the concept of human rights compatible with Buddhist teachings? According to Keown, Buddhisms implicit notion of human rights can be seen in the Buddhist precepts.

By 1779 , Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that amongst these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Religious significant contributions to human rights

1) The world religions continue to serve as one important avenue to articulate and bring to public notice certain rights. 2) encourage the moral virtue of benevolence which lies at the heart of taking the moral point of view 3) Rather than primarily emphasizing rights, the world religions emphasize responsibility to others as the deeper foundation of rights

4) offer institutional structures, myths, symbols, rituals and texts to support human rights 5)religions offer moral-religious saints as models for those who would be loving and morally responsible in their commitment to human rights.

Dalai Lama: universal duties, or universal responsibilities Martin Luther King, Jr. Mahatma Gandhi Mother Theresa, and Bishop Desmond Tutu are others. Well known moral-religious contributions to human rights.


1. Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, Parliament of the Worlds Religions, Chicago, U.S.A. 1993 2. Ethical Religion, Mahatma Gandhi, University of Michigan, 1922 3. Human Rights and Responsibilities in the world religions, Vol IV, Ed by Joseph Runzo, Nancy M. Martin, and Arvind Sharma, Oneworld, Oxford, 2003 4. Human Rights, A Very Short Introduction, Clapham, Andrew, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007 5. Religious Freedom and Violent Religious Extremism, The Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University, US, 2012 6. Religion and Human Rights: An Introduction, Ed, John Witte, Jr., M. Christian Green, Oxford University Press, 2011

The End

Thanks for your attention