MPAC Represents United States at Human Rights Conference

October 1, 2012


On Oct. 1, MPAC president Salam Al-Marayati spoke in Warsaw, Poland, as part of Ambassador Avis Bohlen’s U.S. delegation to the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

SEE: “Annual OSCE Human Rights Conference Opens in Warsaw on Monday” (osce.org)

Al-Marayati was invited as a public member of the U.S. delegation to HDIM along with Professor Ethel Brooks of Rutgers University and Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Institute. 

Al-Marayati, who has a long history of civic engagement and service to the U.S. and the Muslim community, was the only American Muslim invited to speak at the HDIM. This honor and privilege of addressing the OSCE could not have been bestowed upon a better person who epitomizes working toward religious freedom and human rights protection.

Al-Marayati’s speech reads in part:

“Hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate or incite violence against someone based on religion is harmful,” Al-Marayati said. “The best way to counter hatred is to defy it through convincing arguments, good actions and open debate.  Human rights protect individuals, not abstract ideas or social norms.  Religious symbols do not need governments or international bodies to defend them … It is not the job of governments to make people more religious, but rather to protect the right of their citizens to practice a faith of their choosing, or not to practice at all.  It is their job to establish security for all people, protect the universal rights of all, counter discrimination when it is manifested, and to promote prosperity for their people.”

ALSO SEE: MPAC President, Salam Al-Marayati’s Full Address to the HDIM of the OSCE (mpac.org)

The 10-day conference reviews the implementation of a broad range of OSCE human dimension commitments, including human rights and fundamental freedoms, elections, the promotion of tolerance, the use of the death penalty and the rights of national minorities.

The Warsaw HDIM is the OSCE region’s most important human rights event of the year, bringing together hundreds of government representatives, human rights activists and international experts from 56 European, Central Asian and North American states. This year, the HDIM will focus on three topics for comment and consideration: freedom of religion and belief, empowerment of Roma women and rights of persons belonging to national minorities in OSCE countries. 

“HDIM is a unique opportunity for the United States and indeed for all participating States to discuss our shared commitments in the Human Dimension, and our commitments to the fundamental freedoms that are the core of civilized society,” Bohlen said. “This forum allows us to come together to evaluate where we are on human rights throughout the OSCE space, and in this year, to stress the important contribution that civil society organizations make not only to the discussions at HDIM and the deliberations of the OSCE as a whole, but also to the security and stability of participating States throughout the OSCE region.” 

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