Sheikh Rahman began his speech with an invocation. He said that if he had done that in Pakistan he would be charged and would be in prison. "Thanks Robin Marsh and Margaret Ali for allowing make the presentation to this august gathering in the Houses of Parliament."He said, "I have campaigned with my friends and colleagues within the community to seek redress against the draconian laws and the injustice that exists even within the constitution of Pakistan and that are in complete opposition not only to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Pakistan is a signatory, but also in contradiction to the (Pakistan’s) constitution itself. It is a difficult subject.
Commemorating Human Rights Day 2011
Committee Room 4A, House of LordsChaired by Lord King of West Bromwich and Margaret Ali (Director UPF – UK), the first speaker was Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham who was speaking on the topic of Universal Human Rights for Humanity. After thanking Dr Song and those involved in UPF and WFWP for organising the conference, Lord Ahmed went on to talk passionately about issues of human rights in countries across the globe, clarifying that our rights are given to us by ‘God Almighty’, and that December 10th is a day to remember that we are very fortunate that we do have rights. The second speaker, Keith Best, gave us his insight into torture, posing the question, Why Do We Still Tolerate Torture? Mr Best, having had much experience as CEO of Torture Care, gave a short history of torture practices, and opposed any justification to torture, calling it ‘morally repugnant’. He expressed his optimism that torture practices across the globe can finally be eradicated. Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid JP (Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony UK) was the third speaker of the session, speaking on the topic of Islam and Human Rights emphasising the perspective of Islam on human rights with support from the Qu’ran, and the power of education as a tool that not only promotes human rights but also combats issues such as poverty. The final speaker of the session, Prof. Unni Wikan (University of Oslo), began by telling of the moving story of Fadima, a 26 year old women killed by her father in 2002, in what is known as ‘Honour Based Violence’. Prof. Wikan described it as a practice that cuts across religions and societies, with a solution in locating the signs that could lead to violence before that violence occurs.
Keith Best, CEO, of Torture Care, gave a short history of torture practices, and opposed any justification to torture, calling it ‘morally repugnant’. Torture is taking life without killing. Its fundamental purpose is to destroy someone's personality. It confounds the basic tennets of all the major religions. The inalienable rights to freedom and human dignity which come from God. The fact that the United States under George Bush Jr. was prepared to waterboard individuals and give evidence to the senatorial committee explaining that they had waterboarded people, I believe, lost the United States all moral authority as a result and did civilisation lasting damage.
'Commemorating Human Rights Day 2011: How Far Have We Progressed?'
Plenary Session ‘Human Rights Around Europe’
Freedom of religion, thought and conscience is the most basic human right. If one is not free to choose one’s own beliefs, then one is not free at all. It is for this reason that the United Nations recognized in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, alone or in community with others, and, in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Forced conversion is the act or attempt to change a person’s faith, belief or religious affiliation under duress by subjecting a person to involuntary confinement and threatening physical, psychological, social, or financial deprivation or harm. Forced conversion is the antithesis of religious freedom.
Shockingly, this criminal and immoral act is happening today not only where one might expect it in Darfur (against Christians and African religionists), Communist China (against Falun Gong practitioners), or Egypt (against Coptic Christians), but also in the advanced democratic nation of Japan. Over the past 45 years, an estimated 4,300 followers of the Unification Church (UC) have been subjected to this or similar criminal practices. Scores of Jehovah’s Witnesses have also been victimized.