Oslo Forum on the Universality of Human Rights: New Arguments for Defenders of the Universality of Human Rights

Oct 29, 2010, 13:18 ET from Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday and Friday, October 21-22, the Forum on the Universality of Human Rights was held in Oslo, hosted by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe in collaboration with the European Wergeland Center for Education in Human Rights.

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Some one-hundred participants attended the forum to study current developments in Human Rights and bring together arguments in defence of their universal nature.

INGO representatives and directors of educational institutions from some twenty countries came together during workshops, round tables and conferences. They shared their expertise and offered proposals for presenting solid arguments to defenders of the universality of Human Rights.

This universality is now in jeopardy, and it is necessary to reaffirm this universality in the face of attacks coming in particular from cultural and religious relativism.

Experts and philosophers at the Forum, including Abdelwahab Meddeb, Gerard Fellous, Gabriel Nissim, Alain Mouchoux and Solon Smith, explained how religious precepts, political approaches and cultural diversity cannot in any circumstance justify non-respect of Human Rights.

Their arguments are based on objective and factual data in addition to historical and scientific information proving that Human Rights are not simply the expression of a single Western civilisation, and that they are not "imposed upon the rest of the world by colonial and neo-colonial powers", but rather that they result from the uniqueness of the concept of the inalienable dignity of Human beings.  

INGOs of the Council of Europe have a crucial role to play in this area. This is a role, however, which is under-recognised by states and international organisations. The involvement of INGOs during the Oslo Forum should give new impetus to the struggle to ensure respect for the application of Human Rights.  This struggle must be initiated through education. Often cited in the various workshops, education in Human Rights is today deemed insufficient despite the working tools which are provided by the Council of Europe. Areas for further work and actions to be taken to follow...

Website: http://www.coe.int/T/NGO/default_en.asp

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SOURCE Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe