The European Council of Religious leaders recently issued a declaration on restoring the dignity of women and ending violence.
The European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL)-Religions for Peace (RfP) held its two-day annual meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday 8 May. During the opening ceremony, the Council heard addresses from the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, H.E. Bakir Izobegovic, the Catholic Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the
Interreligious Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina, H.E. Vinko Cardinal Puljic [an Honorary President of RfP], and the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina Dr. Mustafa Ceric, [a Co-President of RfP].
The Council of Europe Secretary General, Mr. Torbjørn Jagland, was also present and underscored in his keynote address the importance of human rights, saying that if human rights are not for all – they will not be for anyone.
The Council also issued a statement on Restoring Dignity: A Commitment to End Violence against Women underlining that violence against women is wrong and that religions must support the dignity and full human rights of women, particularly in helping to stop violence and discrimination against women.
The religious leaders committed themselves to engage religious communities to prevent acts of violence against women and mobilise the compassion of religious communities to help, care for and heal survivors of violence. They further committed themselves to engage men and boys in the prevention of violence against women, and advocate for
changes in public policy and opinion that contribute to violence against women.
Statement: Restoring Dignity: A Commitment to End Violence against Women
Violence against women is wrong. Religions must support the dignity and full Human Rights of women, particularly in helping to stop violence against and the discrimination of women.
Religions recognize the fundamental dignity of every woman and man. We know—each according to her or his respective religious tradition-that the true dignity of every woman is given by and rooted in the Sacred. This dignity is inviolable. It is not given by cultures, states, societies, communities or individuals. It cannot be taken away by them. But the recognition of this dignity must be “restored” whenever it is violated. It must be actively respected, honored and protected.
Violence against women is prevalent. It occurs in public and in the privacy of the home. It is unspeakably hurtful to women. It impacts women in all their roles, including as mothers. It also damages families, communities, and ultimately all of us.
Violence against women includes rape and its use as a weapon of war, the practice of forced marriages of young girls, the bearing of the brunt of extreme poverty and the selective aborting of unborn females.
Some have misinterpreted their religious traditions as supporting patterns of violence against women. We—together with our respective religious leaders—reject this. Honesty calls us all to acknowledge that violence against women is wrong.
Eliminating violence against women is a religious duty. Doing so will also nourish all of us for healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Peace is central to our diverse religious traditions. Violence against women is an assault on peace. All religious people should work to uphold and restore the dignity of women.
The European Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace commits to:
- Work to engage religious communities to prevent acts of violence against women,
- Mobilize the compassion of religious communities to help care for and heal survivors of violence,
- Engage men, boys and women in the prevention of violence against women, and
- Advocate for changes in public policy and opinion that contribute to violence against women.
You may download the full text of the statement Restoring Dignity: A Commitment to End Violence against Women