«Systematic discrimination against minorities are mostly indicative of a general disrespect for human rights which sooner or later will also negatively affect members of the majority.»

Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt Former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Professor of Human Rights and Human Rights Politics, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg

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By Liviu Olteanu, PhD, Secretary General of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty

Meeting at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, between H.E. AMBASSADOR PEKKA METSO from Finland, and Dr. Liviu Olteanu, Secretary-General of the AIDLR: on international challenges, ‘coronavirus’, religious liberty and religious communities

5th March 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

During the UN Human Rights Council, 43rd session, Mr. Pekka Metso, the Ambassador-at Large for the Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Processes at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, requested a meeting with Dr. Liviu Olteanu, Secretary-General of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (AIDLR). During the meeting that took place at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva on 4th of March 2019 (previous to the 43rd Session being suspended in light of the Coronavirus situation), ambassador Metso, together with the Secretary-General of the AIDLR, exchanged points of views on worldwide religious freedom, international challenges and threats that affect worldwide religious liberty or that could seriously impact religious communities during this ‘coronavirus’ period, with possible consequences on the horizon for religious liberty and religious communities. The need for wisdom, special care and commitment on the part of religious communities regarding the protection and healthcare of people within the community, and for a proactive attitude of all Christians and faith communities, is more necessary than ever; the impact of education upon religious communities has been evaluated and has shown that by always living as balanced agents of harmony and security, facing the challenging problems of our times as good practitioners, and analyzing and following the appropriate measures provides positive results. During their meeting, the Secretary-General of the AIDLR talked with Ambassador Metso on the special support that the AIDLR gives permanently to the UN and to the wider humanitarian organizations in the interests of harmony, peace and the defense of the principle of religious freedom for all people; the organization has also produced the historic ‘Recommendation to the UN Plan of Action on Hate Speech’; the two men talked on the good practices illustrated by the report gathered in the book ‘Dignity, Rights and Justice’, published recently by the AIDLR and the ‘Conscience and Liberty’ collection; the Second Global Summit was co-organized by the UN Office of Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect and the AIDLR.