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Carter Center Human Rights Forum to Promote Role of Religion in Advancing Women's Rights

Contact: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404-420-5124

Atlanta...Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights are bringing together religious leaders, human rights advocates and practitioners, and academics to further the role of religion in advancing women's rights June 27-29 at The Carter Center. Participants are committed to making concrete gains in women's rights, working within the context of religion and traditional belief structures.

"The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to treat women as equals or to subjugate them," President Carter said. "They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views."

Mobilizing Faith for Women: Engaging the Power of Religion and Belief to Advance Women's Rights and Human Dignity will build on the proceedings and concluding statement of the Carter Center's 2011 Human Rights Defenders Forum, which called on religious leadership to stand for the equal rights of girls and women, appealing to the power of religion and belief to elevate human dignity. This year's forum will respond to this call by exploring how resources intrinsic to religious and traditional practices and sacred textual interpretations can advance the wellbeing of women and their communities.

The forum will focus on four key areas particularly relevant to women: family laws and norms, physical integrity, access to education and economic participation, and political and public participation. The group will discuss at length issues such as female genital cutting, human trafficking, and the normalization of violence, as they relate to particular regions and communities.

Participants include top religious leaders, activists, and religious scholars from around the world, representing more than 15 countries and over 35 faith-based organizations, universities, and religious bodies including Harvard and Princeton Universities, the Biblioteca Alexandria, the Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, Sojourners, and the American Academy of Religion.

The forum will be webcast live on June 28-29 at Follow our twitter feed @CarterCenter and join in the discussion at #faith4women.

Read more about the forum at


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope." A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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Additional Information

View the agenda (PDF) >

See full list of participants and bios (PDF) >

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