«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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Declaration concerning the war in Ukraine

Brussels, March 18, 2022

Europe is experiencing the worst situation of conflict on the continent since the Second World War, due to the seriousness of the invasion of a sovereign State by another. Adding to the conflict is the danger of involvement of neighboring countries or escalation in the type of weapons used, and, above all, the tragic situation of violence, deprivation and displacement to which millions of people are subjected.

In recent decades, European countries have sought to create the conditions that would enable them to resolve their disagreements through dialogue and allow them to manage their resources together. They have built institutions based on the principles of the fundamental rights of freedom, pluralism, the division of powers and the legal resolution of conflicts, and have integrated the United Nations system with the perspective of relations of respect for human rights and justice.

The war in Ukraine is a major blow to peace based on these principles.

It has already caused the loss of many lives and has brought much suffering to the injured, displaced and refugees. It is an attack on the way of life, property and the aspiration for development of the populations. It violates the legitimate right of every person to live in peace, in freedom and in community.

As long as it lasts, it will continue to make its first and greatest victims in the defenseless common people, who lose their lives, security, peace, and freedom, and the presence and company of their loved ones.

Every life lost in conflict is an open wound in all of humanity.

In the face of this conflict, the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty:

  • Calls on the parties involved and the international community, through the organizations in which it is accredited and, in particular, before the United Nations and the European Union, to continue and increase their efforts in the search for a peaceful resolution of this conflict through diplomatic channels.
  • Urges the parties in conflict to exercise maximum restraint in actions that affect the life, security, liberty, basic needs, and fundamental rights of civilian populations.
  • Calls for respect for the principles of freedom of conscience, religion and worship of all people, as well as the holy shelter traditionally provided by places of worship and the assisting role of clerics, professionals and humanitarian volunteers at the service of populations on behalf of their institutions.
  • It notes and supports the efforts of the international community, through so many people, institutions and States, to receive the extraordinary number of refugees that this war has already caused. Besides the effort to grant asylum, meet needs and offer integration, AIDLR also calls for special attention to understand, accept and promote the freedom of each person, guaranteeing their fundamental rights of conscience, worship and religion.


Paulo Macedo
Secretary-General