The “Global Charter of Conscience” is a powerful document. I appreciate its enormous potential to inspire practical commitment on behalf of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief and to contribute to a better understanding of human rights in general. In the spirit of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Charter underlines the universal validity of freedom of religion or belief as an inextricable part of a holistic human rights agenda in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights can mutually reinforce each other.
In a world in which “the challenge of living with our deepest differences has been raised to a new level of intensity,” freedom of religion or belief may be more important than ever for the development of a culture of respectful coexistence and open communication. I see the “Global Charter of Conscience” as a strong support in this on-going endeavour. May the Charter find many readers across continents, cultures and denominations.
Prof Dr Heiner Bielefeldt
UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
This is a unique and timely document that elaborates on the fundamentals of religious freedom as they have been enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. That pivotal Article was written by my late father, Charles Malik, and adopted as is by the Human Rights Commission back in 1947. In it, the right to change one’s religion is clearly spelled out, as is the right to worship both in private and in public. The Global Charter of Conscience is an excellent and detailed follow-up to Article 18 and will hopefully serve as an international rallying point for all people concerned about protecting freedom of religious belief and conscience.
Habib Charles Malik
The Charter calls for a new and deeper vision of freedom of thought, conscience and religion. These freedoms must be respected everywhere despite global challenges such as growing diversity and coexistence of different worldviews.
Member of the European Parliament
Director of Policy and Research, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion always was at the centre, whenever in history human rights made progress. This sophisticated, yet clear charter puts this right back among the fundamental and global rights – a brave and timely act, if we want to preserve freedom and peace for the future.
Prof Dr Thomas Schirrmacher
Director, International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn, Cape Town, Colombo) and Professor of Sociology of Religion (Timisoara, Romania)
Dr Jean-Paul Willaime
Sociologist and Research Director, École pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne University, Paris, France)
I found the document very inspiring and timely. “Global Charter of Conscience” reflects much of my own thinking and development of ideas around Freedom of Religion and it gives authority to ones academic interests in this field. I am more than pleased to support this initiative.
Prof N. Barney Pityana
Rector of The College of the Transfiguration, South Africa, Chairman of the South African Human Rights Commission from 1995 to 2001
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is only secure when questions of ultimate concern can be debated civilly in the public square. This Global Charter is an important step towards upholding those freedoms in the twenty-first century.
Dr. David McIlroy
Barrister, Visiting Senior Lecturer in Law, SOAS, United Kingdom
The Global Charter of Conscience is an extremely important document and should receive the full support of those responsible for setting public policy and implementing it. In our present cultural climate there is widespread confusion between secularity (laudably favouring an open marketplace of ideas) and secularism (a worldview denigrating and often excluding viewpoints contrary to it). Freedom must be practiced with genuine civility, and the Global Charter can assist greatly in such a vital endeavour.
Prof Dr John Warwick Montgomery
Professor Emeritus of Law & Humanites, University of Bedfordshire (UK), Barrister-at-Law (England and Wales), Avocat à la Cour (Barreau de Paris)
The National Council of Evangelicals in France, a member of the European Evangelical Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance, wishes, in the vein of the “fathers” of the evangelical movement, to contribute to defending freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief for all. It is in the very name of our religious convictions that we consider this freedom as a fundamental good of all humanity, and an indispensable ferment for our societies. The Global Charter of Conscience has power to contribute instrumentally to promoting this freedom, and this is the reason why I am endorsing this text unreservedly.
President of the National Council of Evangelicals in France
The Global Charter is a forceful, eloquent and timely reaffirmation of a fundamental right currently under serious threat wherever brutal authoritarian regimes fear the liberating power of human conscience. Living justly and peaceably with deep religious and moral difference is one of the world’s most demanding challenges and the urgency of this initiative to promote that goal could not be overstated.
Director, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics
Dr Prof Patrice Rolland
Professeur agrégé of Public Law, Paris XII University (Val-de-Marne,France)
The ‘Global Charter of Conscience’ is a visionary document which encompasses and expands the standards set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In an ever shrinking world where the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief are constantly challenged and often in conflict with the fast pace of change in every sphere of life, the Global Charter of Conscience places these fundamental freedoms and other wider human rights in the context of the challenges of our modern era, enhances our understanding of these rights and promotes practical action and commitment to their protection.
Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah
Executive Director Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance
Since the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), there has been a developing group of thoughtful and humane documents affirming human rights in general and freedom of religion and conscience in particular. The writing of one more document in this process stands as an indictment of human nature: several decades of serious moral discussion has not yet had the needed impact on our behavior. We must carefully heed the call of the Charter to implement and cultivate these principles within the global public square. The alternative is continuing violence or even a clash of civilizations; let us listen and learn.
Dr. Thomas K. Johnson
Academic Council, International Institute for Religious Freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance, United States of America