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Human Rights and Religious Leaders Call for Action Toward Full Equality and Human Dignity for All

CONTACT: Deborah Hakes, 1-404-420-5124

Atlanta...A group of 60 human rights defenders, religious leaders, and scholars representing 15 countries gathered at The Carter Center today and called on all believers to work within their communities to seek positive solutions for violence against women and other gender-based violations of human rights.

"The tremendous influence exerted by religious leaders carries with it the moral responsibility for them to take action to address human rights violations of girls and women, including the global problem of sexual violence," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. "We also realize that continuous warfare makes progress on women's rights more difficult, and that people of faith must recommit to seeking peaceful solutions to conflict. Provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be honored."

The group is meeting June 27-29 to discuss key challenges faced by women's rights and religious activists through the exploration of sacred texts and their application in communities around the world. Through scriptural analysis and shared experiences, the group seeks to advance a vision in which both women and men can live with dignity, peace, mutual respect, and full equality.

"Throughout much of history, men have defined religious norms and texts, and women's voices were silenced. It is time for women to reclaim their religion," said Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a founding member of Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, who attended the conference.

The group called for:

  • Religious believers to work for human rights and equal dignity for everyone, and to reject violence and the stigmatization of its victims;
  • Religious leadership to engage communities to align their spiritual lives with the promise of human rights;
  • Colleagues in the human rights community to reach out and engage the support of people of faith as they seek to promote the dignity and full equality of women and girls;
  • All people, believers and non-believers, religious institutions and governments, to commit themselves to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Read the group's full statement (PDF) >


"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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