Panel on Eastern DRC violence

Brussels, Belgium - The UPF, Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP), and the European Economic and Social Committee organized a European Leadership Conference at the European Parliament in Belgium on the theme "What More Can Europe Do to Advance Human Rights?" December 4 and 5, 2012.

Willy Fautré, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers (Brussels)

Is there a distinction to be made between “cults” or “sects” and religions? Should religious freedom be only accessible to so-called historical religions and their members? Should other minority religious or spiritual movements called “sects” or “cults” be denied the enjoyment of the provisions of international declarations and covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief?

Dr Aaron Rhodes, President of FOREF – Europe

I would like to use these brief remarks to offer some perspectives on the notion of “multiculturalism,” and to share my concerns, as a human rights advocate, about threats to fundamental human rights in Europe posed by some interpretations of multiculturalism.

Tobias Troll

The UN Convention  on the Rights of the Child (United  Nations  1989, CRC) is a binding international  contract in the framework of the United Nations, and thus obliges legally the ratifying  nations  – indeed  all UN  members  besides  the  United  States  and  Somalia  – to implement  its  provisions.  This  is a mayor  milestone  to  recognise  children,  i.e.  everyone under  the  age  of  18,  as  citizens  with  human  rights,  and  consequently  responsibilities. Through  this  convention,  children  are  conceived  as subjects  of society  – like  all human beings  – and  not anymore  as mere  objects  of protection  (Verhellen  2000).

Illario Esposito

Ms. Illario Esposito, member of the Council of Europe Advisory Council on Youth and Trainer in Human Rights Education, first showed a video about the Advisory Council on Youth for the Council of Europe dealing with human rights (see www.coe.int/enter). She explained that In terms of human rights education, the Council of Europe speaks about all the issues that young people are facing today.

Dr Aaron Rhodes, President of FOREF – Europe

The European Union is often criticized by people like me for a wide range of alleged policy and administrative failures regarding human rights.  Today, however, I would like to use this opportunity to attest to the importance of Europe’s role in promoting and protecting human rights, which I can do on the basis of my own experience and reflection.

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