01/13/2011, 00.00

Indian activist: Freedom of religion, foundation of human life and democracy

Lenin Raghuvanshi
Lenin Raghuvanshi comments on the Pope's address to the diplomatic corps to AsiaNews. Life and human dignity are related to religious freedom, the fundamental value of any society that calls itself democratic. If it is denied, the state is pushed towards fascism.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI is absolutely clear and correct: the foundation of human life itself is religious freedom. " It is also "one of the most basic democratic values inherent in development." Lenin Raghuvanshi, Indian human rights activist and avowed atheist, comments on the Pope's address to the diplomatic corps. Raghuvanshi, awarded the Weimar Human Rights Award in 2010 and the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in 2007, defines the protests in Cairo against the Vatican "preposterous and condemnable." When it comes to human rights, nothing is "unacceptable interference" or "an internal matter" because human rights are universal.

Every human right violation in any corner of the globe has to be denounced , inequality and injustice opposed. We belong to a shared humanity and are bound together by shared interests and shared values.

Certain values are universal, the freedom to practice your faith without fear or restriction, these are universal values that must be observed everywhere.

It is the duty of the State to provide security to all peoples and it is a failed state, when the Christians are being killed in Egypt because of their religion, the Pope has to call the world’s attention to the tragic situation.

Religious freedom is the basic foundation for a secular democratic society especially pluralistic societies around the globe.  If Religious Freedom is denied, the state and society is being pushed to a Fascist State.  And in a fascist state -  the majority community denies the minority community the rights to practice their Faith and perform their own religious rituals of worship.  For example., in Indonesia and Pakistan and Middle East, where non Muslims are targeted.  In Gujarat, the Muslims were victimized, in Kandhamal the Christians were persecuted .

Human life and Human Dignity is connected with Religious Freedom, when a person has the freedom to express his Spirituality and human aspirations, he receives the strength to hope for a better future.

Religious Freedom besides being the first human right is also one of the fundamental democratic values closely connected with development, these 3 are the basis for the future of society and forge new ties and greater understanding between nations of the world and will help humanity towards becoming a more just and a more free society.

The Holy Father is absolutely correct, and history is also witness that when religious freedom is denied it gives rise to violent extremism and the way forward for world leaders in rooting out extremists and combating such violence is to guarantee and protect religious freedom in an inclusive government.

(Nirmala Carvalho collaborated)


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