Sheikh RahmanSheikh 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. 

Silvia EscobarThe former Human Rights Ambassador for Spain, Silvia Escobar, pointed out the role that institutions like the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe play in securing human rights in Europe. She highlighted that the different articles of the UDHR are closely interconnected and “the failure of one is abuse of another.” Escobar emphasised that at the core of the matter is dignity, which is the foundation for peace, security and freedom. She remarked “dignity even comes before equality.”

PanelCommemorating Human Rights Day 2011

Committee Room 4A, House of Lords

Chaired 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

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.

Lord King Greetings'Commemorating Human Rights Day 2011: How Far Have We Progressed?'

Plenary Session ‘Human Rights Around Europe’

Lord King of West Bromwich (Patron of UPF UK) and the session’s host Rt. Hon. Tom Brake MP welcomed the international conference participants to the historic Committee Room 14 in the House of Commons. Mrs Carolyn Handschin (President WFWPI - Europe) said that a commemoration of human rights is also a celebration of human dignity. Prof. Lord Bhiku Parekh stated that Human Rights must include socio-economic rights. He expressed his concern that “rights are being chipped away” by budget cuts, “the war on immigration” and the practice of “stop and search” by British police. Rt. Hon. Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, (speech link) Britain’s first black female Attorney General (2007-2010) shared her experiences in combating domestic violence in Britain. “Peace at home is a fundamental human right, which must be protected unconditionally” she stated, and reminded that “1 in 4 women in the UK was a victim of domestic violence.” In recent years this figure could be improved to 1 in 6. Baroness Scotland encouraged those present to be involved in the ‘For the Women in My Life’ campaign she is promoting in her capacity as Patron of ‘Eliminate Domestic Violence – Global Foundation.’

Lord Ahmed`Chaired 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, Robin and Margaret 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, asking if, on this 63rd anniversary of Human Rights Day, we had really progressed. He had attended the earlier session considering ‘Human Rights in Europe’. He wondered, for example, if in the case of the Minarets in Switzerland, you should allow media and press to demonise communities.

Toru GotoFreedom 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.

Donate

Universal Peace Federation UK 

Charity Number 1185412

Help us to continue our work

by donating now!

Please complete a Gift Aid Form! 

UPF Supporter

Be a Supporter of Universal Peace Federation - UK. Only £30 per year!

Subscribe to UPF - UK

Click here to find out the benefits.

Introduction to the Universal Peace Federation

Go to top
JSN Boot template designed by JoomlaShine.com