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First Step Forum: Human Rights Go Together With Human Responsibility

February 7, 2006

[Finland]

“Human rights need to be balanced by human responsibility”, according to the international group, First Step Forum.

“In a world of growing globalization and where religion is now in the epicentre of international relations, it is important that freedom of expression and opinion is balanced by a careful evaluation of the potential effects that one’s views and opinions have on other people’s beliefs. While it is a basic human right to express critical opinions of any matter of human thought and action, people should take due care and consideration when one’s opinions address very sensitive religious matters which people regard as holy.”


Johan Candelin, Executive Director of the First Step Forum and Goodwill Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance, suggests that just as the “Statue of Liberty” is a powerful symbol for free expression, now might be the time to build a mental “Statue of Responsibility” to act as a moral conscience for all in leadership and positions of power, in the west and all other parts of the world. Freedom goes hand in hand with responsibility. This is not to limit democratic freedoms but to use the freedoms afforded by open democracies with such responsible care for others that more people in the world will start to demand them in their own countries.

“Only mutual respect, where we each value the other person’s faith and also have respect for people with no religious affiliation at all, can there be the hope of a future with less religious tensions”, says First Step Forum.


Note:

The First Step Forum is an independent network of Ambassadors, Members of Parliament, journalists, advocates and directors of global organisations who have a concern to see religious liberty flourish in our world – freedom enshrined in Article18 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. The Forum is made up of sixteen men and women from eight countries, and works through private diplomatic initiatives with a variety of governments and non-governmental groups.

For more information contact Johan Candelin, Executive Director, First Step Forum: candelin@kolumbus.fi