The 13th International Conference for Interfaith Dialogue on the topic of Religion and Human Rights was held in Doha on February 20 and February 21, 2018. The conference entitled “Religions and Human Rights”, was held with the participation of a group of two hundred and thirty-nine (239) scholars from the three monotheistic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, as well as participants from Qatar.
At the opening session, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi, stressed that protection and promotion of human rights is a top priority for Qatar. He highlighted the close relation between the religious values and human rights. He asserted on the role of the states, individuals, scholars, and specialists to pay more attention to human rights issues so that our lives and society could be governed by supreme religious and human principles.
The representatives of the three monotheistic faiths also spoke at the opening session. They also confirmed that human rights are consistent and fundamental in all heavenly laws which are precedent for all international laws and covenants.
Throughout the day, three plenary sessions, nine concurrent sub-sessions and a final panel discussion were held, and many papers were presented. Guided by the papers presented, and the Conference dialogues and discussions; the Conference concluded with the following final recommendations and statements:
First: The Participants emphasize that human beings are the main focus of all the legislation and values of the divine religions. Human rights are a top priority to be protected. All violations affecting these rights should be addressed regardless of religion, gender, or color.
Second: They advocate for activating the religious values, strengthening the international laws to protect human rights and to stop violations of rights whether by States, individuals or groups.
Third: The participants stress on the need to create effective international mechanisms to ensure the freedom of belief and practicing religious rites. They highlight the need to respect religious sanctities, and symbols, as well as the customs and traditions of all peoples. They recommend intellectual confrontation of intolerance, extremism, terrorism and disdain for religions.
Fourth: They call the international community to urgently find solutions to issues related to violations of basic human rights. These violations are widespread in many countries of the world today threatening global security and stability. They also emphasize the issues of religious minorities, refugees, victims of war, armed conflicts, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, unjust siege, and trafficking in human beings.
Fifth: The participants urge for support and solidarity with all those who are subjected to persecution and violations of human rights whether they are occupied, subjected to ethnic cleansing, or forced to seek refuge outside their countries.
Sixth: The participants call states sponsoring religious or ethnic minorities or refugees to take serious measures to raise awareness of their rights in the educational curricula and media. Religious leaders shall carry out their responsibilities in such awareness according to the divine religions values of love, Peace and human coexistence.
Seventh: They urge the international community to ensure the protection of children, women, people with special needs and families, especially those who are subjected to violations during war and conflict.
Eighth: They advocate the human rights institutions and civil societies to work continuously to document and monitor all violations of human rights, regardless of their perpetrators. They also suggest establishing institutions to monitor such violations by representatives of different religions around the world.
Ninth: They call the international community, the United Nations, and the signatories to international conventions and treaties including the Geneva Conventions for the protection of fundamental human rights, to fulfill their obligations to respect these rights and to take punitive measures against those who violate them.
Tenth: The participants stress on the need to consolidate relations between all institutions concerned with human rights including religious parties, media, judicial authorities, civil societies, international institutions, human rights organizations, and Amnesty International to unite visions and joint action to support human rights and address violations against them.
Doha, February 21, 2018