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Human Rights Update 2002-2003

An overall look at the work of the churches in relation to their advocacy for human rights observance suggests that they will undertake activities that promote respect for human rights based on both their faith as well as their commitment to the establishment and maintenance of a healthy and vibrant civil society. The Middle East Council of Churches has been promoting this view for over a decade, and is now in the process of implementing a project on ‘the role of churches in human rights awareness and advocacy’. While this may not suit all contexts, it has generated positive reviews from local and regional human rights groups and civil society advocates. The program is keen on exploring the religious sources of human rights, both Christian and Muslim, and is working to engage religious institutions to promote human rights as an integral part of their pastoral and academic institutions. In a further step, human rights courses are being taught at local seminaries in Lebanon and Egypt, and the hope is that an aware cadre of ministers and priests will carry the message of tolerance, respect of human rights and human dignity to their pulpits.