World Council of Churches - News
ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH HIGHLIGHTS FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND MINORITY RIGHTS
For immediate release: 01 December 2011
In a presentation to a gathering of experts on religious freedom and
religious rights of minorities, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said
there must be respect for the "inherent rights of all human beings and their
aspiration and rights of religious freedom should be important components to
sustain tolerance among all God's creation."
Bartholomew made his comments on 30 November at a consultation in Istanbul,
Turkey, called Freedom of Religion and Rights of Religious Minorities which
is sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the
Churches on International Affairs and hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarch.
"We are called to promote dialogue among all communities and peoples to
create peace, harmony and tolerance in a world that is faced with violence,
conflicts and religious hatred" Bartholomew, who is widely recognized for
his role in promoting dialogue for peace and prophetic witness of religion
for reconciliation. "In order to avoid such situations of hatred and
intolerance, allowing individuals to believe, practice, and promote the
religion according to their belief and choice without any obstacles are part
of the rights of any individual."
The consultation features 30 experts on religious rights from 23 different
countries. Each are presenting case studies related to rights of religious
minorities and religious freedom. The consultation ends 2 December.
WCC advocacy for human rights (Link:
Accompanying churches in situations of conflict (Link:
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran]
Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.