Introducing Ministerial Art Contest 2022
What is Freedom of Religion or Belief?
Freedom of religion or belief is the human right which allows individuals to act on their conscience and practice their beliefs in public or private, theistic or non-theistic. Freedom of religion or belief is outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18 which states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." When freedom of religion or belief is protected, communities of many backgrounds, cultures, languages, and beliefs can live peaceably and unite in protecting the inherent worth of the human soul, also known as human dignity.
Why is it important?
Thousands of individuals all over the world live in countries where they cannot practice their beliefs without fear of extreme persecution, targeting, or death. Many genocides stem from the violation of freedom of religion or belief including the Yazidis in Iraq, the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uighurs in China. Freedom of religion or belief protects other human rights including freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom of movement. When we protect freedom of religion or belief for one, we protect the human rights of all. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other legal mechanisms ensure that freedom of religion or belief cannot be weaponized or used to justify other human rights abuses.
The First of Its Kind
Henri Matisse famously said, "Creativity takes courage." And courage informs advocacy and the change we make in the world. This prestigious art contest is the opportunity to use art to speak about human rights, refugees, and our common humanity. Art has the power to change perspective, shape attitude, and inform paradigm. It is my hope that this contest will bring together talent and courage, so that together we can continue the fight for freedom of religion or belief and human dignity for all.
-Rachel Miner, Executive Director of Bellwether International, Sponsor