‘Freedom of religion is a must for a functioning democracy’ -Advocate Tripathy
September 14, Lalitpur-
Senior Advocate Dr. Dinesh Tripathy, LLM, Baltimore University, USA, facilitated the “National-level Interaction Programme on Religious Freedom and Their Concern”, organized by IPFN (Interfaith Peace Federation-Nepal) today, amidst the presence of over 8 faith groups and their leaders, Hon’ble MP Bimala Rai Paudel, and the Under-secretary of National Human Rights Commission.
The programe was chaired by IPFN Chair Ram Bhakta Kurumbang, where MP Bimala Rai Paudel, Under-secretary of the office of National Human Rights Commission Mr. Pawan K. Bhatta were the special guests.
IPFN G, Secretary Dr. Mahendra Bhattarai presented the background and Vision, Mission, Goals and programmes of IPFN, and set the tone of the interaction, emphasing that IPFN does not hype the majority/minority divide but believes in love, acceptance and harmony.
Facilitator Advocate Tripathi explained about negative and positive peace, negative and positive discrimination (preferred treatment).
Major instruments like Bill of Rights, customary laws and conventions as well as covenants are there fot the safeguard of human rights.
He also referenced the divide between the American camp that championed freedom and expression, whereas the Russian camp accentuated then economic and cultural rights. As a result the UN adopted two conventions, namely International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Providing a comprehensive overview of the universal principles imbeded in UDR, ICCPR and others, Advocate Tripathi remarked that Nepal has been one of the first signatories to such declarations and covenants, yet it has not fulfilled its promise at the home front.
Nothing about us, without us! Participation and inclusion is central, or else all other rights are meaningless.
Represneted were Masto Dharma, Bahai religion, Christian, Muslim, Satya Sai, Buddhist, Hindu religions where media advocates and interfaith leaders came together for upholding the dignity of all, not least the religious minorities.
Such dialogues and a concerted address of any issue faced by the minorities are necessary.