Declaration of Principles for the International Religious Freedom Alliance

US Department of State

The Alliance is a network of likeminded countries fully committed to advancing freedom of religion or belief around the world. (Religions for Peace International is a foundation member of the Alliance, hence, Religions for Peace Australia are also members of the Alliance.)

The Alliance is predicated on the idea more must be done to protect members of religious minority groups and combat discrimination and persecution based on religion or belief. The Alliance intends to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all, which includes the right of individuals to hold any belief or none, to change religion or belief and to manifest religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, in worship, observance, practice and teaching. The Alliance is intended to bring together senior government representatives to discuss actions their nations can take together to promote respect for freedom of religion or belief and protect members of religious minority groups worldwide. Alliance members should be committed to the following principles and commitments and be willing to publicly and privately object to abuses, wherever they might occur.

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Australian Baha’i Community: Creating an Inclusive Narrative Project

tralian Bahai CommunityThe Australian Baha’i Community will conduct community roundtable discussions on social cohesion in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Darwin. These roundtables are an integral aspect of a national project being facilitated by the Australian Baha’i Community to collectively ‘Create an Inclusive Narrative’ for our country. The roundtables will take place in February, March and April of 2020.

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Statement regarding Australian bushfires

John Shine AC The Australian Academy of Science has given a statement about the bushfires that have ravaged Australia in the last few months. There is need for clarity around the issues of climate change and drought, man-made changes to the planetary warming and how man has treated the environment. It is time for clarity and for respect to others in this sometimes voluble conversation in the community.

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Bushfires and the Australian Volunteer Emergency Chaplaincy Alliance

Once a farmA couple of days of light rain brought some relief to those resisting killer bushfires across southeastern Australia. Still, firefighters, residents and other responders were bracing themselves and preparing for more mayhem.

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Australian Churches respond to Bushfire Crisis

Bushfire

Red and smoky skies at night and in the morning* looming in four Australian states indicate a catastrophe of biblical proportions as killer fires engulf towns and communities, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded.

Churches have been at the forefront among the responders in both their community service and disaster chaplaincy as Australians in four states including New South Wales and Victoria reel under flames, with thousands fleeing in the first days of a new decade.

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Australia: Second Draft of Religious Freedom Bill released

religious freedomThe Morrison government has made 11 changes to its proposed religious freedom legislation in a bid to minimise dissent and secure its passage through Parliament early next year. But the changes largely heed the concerns of churches and religious groups and have been panned by the Greens and LGBTIQ groups as increasing the potential for discrimination.

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Australia: 2019 Human Rights Day Oration

Australian Human Rights Commission LogoThe Hon Peter McClellan AM QC delivered the 2019 Human Rights Day Oration. His co-orator was Ms Chrissie Foster, mother of two girls who experienced child sexual abuse. “I cannot comprehend how any person, much less one with qualifications in theology and very often further qualifications from recognised universities, could consider the rape of a child to be a moral failure but not a crime,” The Hon Peter McClellan said.

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – Day 16

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global initiative running from 25 November through 10 December, annually.   Violence against women and racism have powerful impacts on the mental health of those who are on the receiving end. Next time you see someone being harassed because of their gender or race, say … Read more

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – Day 15

Respect Victoria - 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global initiative running from 25 November through 10 December, annually.   Violence against women cannot be treated as ‘normal’, maintaining a culture of machismo blind to the leading role that women play in our communities. It is not right to look the other way and … Read more

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – Day 14

Respect Victoria - 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Veda and respect for women

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global initiative running from 25 November through 10 December, annually.   “From ancient times, the feminine aspect of the Divine has been worshipped in various ways. The Veda declares that where women are honoured and esteemed, there divinity is present with all its potency. Unfortunately … Read more

The Fruits of the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions

Melbourne Parliament of Religions Logo

Petr Svoboda returned to Australia after working in Thailand, and joined the Melbourne organising team for the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Melbourne, 3 – 9 December 2009. Here, Petr Svoboda reflects on the fruits born from the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – Day 13

Respect Victoria - 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global initiative running from 25 November through 10 December, annually.   Gender-based violence is an ancient sin that for thousands of years has harmed countless women, children and men. It is a sin that Christians need to recognize, understand and confront, for our religious history … Read more

The 2009 Parliament: Pre-Parliament Events

Melbourne Parliament of Religions Logo
In 2008, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions invited cities around the world to join in the movement building up to the Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Melbourne, Australia from December 3 – 9, 2009. In the 18 months leading up to the 2009 Parliament over 90 regional interfaith celebrations were held in more than 60 cities around the world.

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Australian Government to return three stolen religious artefacts to India

Nagaraja statue When Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits India in January 2020, he will take with him three stolen artefacts (statues) from the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra). The National Gallery of Australia is voluntarily returning pieces procured unethically. These include a pair of dvarpalas (door guardians) from 15th century Tamil Nadu, and a statue of Nagaraja (serpent king), believed to be from 6th to 8th century Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – Day 12

Respect Victoria, Respect Victoria campaign against gender based violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global initiative running from 25 November through 10 December, annually.   In Hinduism there is prevalent worship of God as Mother. Thus, each woman is considered a manifestation of the Divine Mother. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, “It is not possible for a bird … Read more