Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty to be launched during UDHR 60-year commemoration

The Eighth Paulista Forum of Religious Liberty and Citizenship will take place on November 10, 2008 at the Plenary of the Sao Paulo City at 7 pm, with the participation of Dr. John Graz, secretary-general of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA). The theme of the event will be 1948 - 2008: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 60 years - Religious Freedom, Challenges and Achievements. A highlight of the event will be the opening for public interaction of the proposed Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty.

The proposed Charter was voted during the First Brazilian Forum of Religious Freedom and Citizenship, held at the Memorial of Latin America on November 11, 2006.

According to Dr. Alcides Coimbra, secretary-general of the Brazilian Association of Religious Freedom and Citizenship (ABLIRC), "the time is quite appropriate, since this initiative aims to broaden the debate and identify circumstances that go unnoticed by the majority of the population regarding how intolerance and discrimination on religious motivation materialize, in order to construct ways of overcoming discrimination and to promote respect for human rights—particularly the right to freedom of religion and conscience. "

"This document represents a paradigmatic precedent that cannot be forgotten by Brazilian society. The Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty is being drafted with the participation of persons with recognized authority on the subject, but respects the right of expression of every citizen who wishes to participate in its preparation, "said Dr. Aldir Guedes Soriano, vice president of ABLIRC.

Commission charged with writing the draft of the Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty

Soriano Aldir Guedes, President

Panelists: Alcides Coimbra (ABLIRC), Antonio Carlos de Campos Machado (ALESP), Alvaro Villaça Azevedo (USP and FAAP), Antonio Carlos Malheiros (PUC-SP), Maria Claudia Pinheiro Bucchianeri, David Teixeira Azevedo (USP), Edson Rosa (IRLA), Luiz Flavio, Borges D'Urso (OAB / SP), Elias Mattar Assad (ABRACE), Flavia Piovesan Cristina (PUC-SP), Hedi Silva Jr. (CEERT),
Marcos Vinicius de Campos (FAAP), Mauricio Scheinman (PUC-SP), Samuel Luz (ABLIRC), and Valerio de Oliveira Mazzuoli (ESUD).

Wider participation welcomed

All individuals interested in participating in the draft development of the Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty may do so online beginning November 10, 2008 until its proclamation.

This will enable the development of a democratic and pluralistic document which will bring together the aspirations of civil society on issues related to the freedoms of conscience, belief, worship and religion. The Commission expects to receive in writing motions and experiences of various religious leaders in Brazil. All faiths are encouraged to contribute their suggestions.

Guidelines and Objectives of the Charter:

Religious freedom is an important instrument of social pacification. Therefore, the keynote of the Brazilian Charter of Religious Freedom will be the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for all citizens in the face of the existing religious diversity in society (pluralism) as dictates the Constitution of 1988 and International Human Rights treaties which have been signed and ratified by Brazil. The document that will be drafted is committed to translate the aspirations of civil society on issues related to the right to religious freedom. This is the main goal pursued by the Commission.

The legislative improvement of infraconstitutional laws related to the rights to religious freedom is important and desirable. But the main issue is that the current Constitution is enforced and respected. In this sense, the norms and constitutional principles must be taken seriously, especially by public authorities. Such authorities are bound to the rights and guarantees expressed in the Brazilian Constitution of 1988.

After the proclamation of the Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty, copies of the document will be sent to the Brazilian authorities of the three Branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. In addition, the document will also be published in newspapers and magazines of large circulation throughout the country.

"The Brazilian Charter of Religious Liberty will undoubtedly be an important reference for the treatment of the issue. It will certainly exert a positive influence on awareness throughout society regarding the duty to respect the right to religious freedom," concluded Samuel Luz, president of ABLIRC.