Center for International Human Rights

Center for International Human Rights

Transatlantic Forum Series Events and Accompanying Papers

"Making a Rioter: Social Media's Role in Planning and Inciting Civil Unrest and Violent Protests"
Dr. Alexander Heinze -- October 26, 2021
"Freedom from Systemic Official Corruption: a Human Right?"
Dr. Andrew Spalding -- November 10, 2021
"Providing Security in the 21st Century: a Human Rights Challenge?"
Dr. Anneke Petzsche -- December 1, 2021

CIHR Theme for 2021-2022

Religion, Secularism and Human Rights

The relation between religion and human rights constitutes a highly complex and controversial topic. On the one hand, religion has always posed a challenge to claims that human rights constitute a universal discourse of human emancipation; the global reach of religious fundamentalism, especially, but not exclusively, in the context of the 'global war on terror' has accentuated this challenge in many issue areas, including women’s rights, minority rights, freedom to choose one’s own religion, civic participation, the debate on non-traditional family values, and demands for social justice. On the other hand, there is a growing contingent of people who argue that the realm of human rights has been dominated by western ideas and concepts. Some analysts have even argued that the human rights discourse is reflective of ‘secular fundamentalism’ and, as a result, it has sought to marginalize religious-based alternative discourses seeking justice and inclusive social orders. In selecting “Religion, Secularism, and Human Rights” as our theme for the 2021-2022 academic year, the CIHR aims to explore this complex topic from a variety of angles ranging from looking at country-specific case studies, to comparing regional perspectives on religion/secularism, and to taking a more philosophical approach in addressing the nature and use/abuse of religious discourses and their potential effects on the adherence to human rights norms and standards. This will be done through a combination of panel discussions and conversation series events with subject matter experts, religious scholars, and human rights advocates, as well as through internally conducted research projects over the course of the coming year.

Details on the program of activities to follow.