Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic does not like “freedom from religion” phrase.

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, a Vatican observer to the UN agencies located in Geneva, has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that a few international organizations and agencies view religion as a threat towards what they want to do . He alleged these agencies and organizations go against the religious sentiments and the wisdom of what can be termed as humanity's essence. He made this statement on March 2 at the time the UN council discussed freedom of belief and religion.

Jurkovic also took umbrage on the “freedom from religion” sentence. He quoted the phrase from a report written by Ahmed Shaheed. The latter is a special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. The archbishop said that the phrase patronizes religion. He continued saying that the sentence also overlooks the wisdom and importance of the world religions and the important part it plays in world cultures.

Jurkovic's speech was on the lines of Pope Francis' criticism of international agencies. The pontiff had railed that international agencies in the pretext of human rights, push what the pope terms “ideological colonization.” According to the pope, the international agencies impose their programs on the economically disadvantaged nations as the condition for being aid recipients.

The Shaheed report to the council noted that treaties related to international human rights are obscured on the relationship status any state must have with belief or religion. The treaties impose duties on the states to be the impartial guarantors of enjoyment of belief or freedom of religion. This includes right to all freedom from religion. The latter is valid for all groups and individuals within the territory and also subject to jurisdiction.

The archbishop said that several societies scattered all over the world appear to have adopted a rejection-oriented attitude when it comes to religious freedom. Such countries blatantly marginalize and sometimes openly persecute the religious minorities. He said that an authentic human rights culture can be built only if convictions of different society members are respected. The aim is the common good which all states all over the world must aspire to. It could be determined and then achieved solely through dialogue. The true meaning of human freedoms and fundamental rights must be found. The archbishop condemned “anti-conversion” and “blasphemy” laws. He is also against any sort of mob violence. Pope Francis said that religion is part of every nation.

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