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EBF seminar commissions paperon human rights as God-given


PRAGUE, Czech Republic (BP)–A study is under way to prepare apaper on the biblical basis of religious freedom and human rights asGod-given — a study commissioned at a European Baptist Federation-sponsored human rights seminar, according to a report in EuropeanBaptist Press Service.
The study and paper were among various points of consensusemerging from the seminar planned by the EBF human rights task force andattended by 20 individuals from 15 countries in Prague, Czech Republic.
The EBF task force is planning another human rights seminar nextfall in Prague.
Among the ideas discussed at the recent human rights seminar:
— The need for Baptist unions in the EBF to start their own humanrights groups.
— Use of networking to strengthen efforts in each country –networking resulting from those concerned about human rights activelytrying to find and relate to each other. In Bulgaria, for instance,there is a new organization of Christian lawyers concerned with humanrights questions called “The Rule of Law Institute.” Its chairman,Latchezar Lobomirov Popov, attended the EBF conference. The group asksitself: “If Jesus was a lawyer in Bulgaria today, how would he do hiswork?” according to Popov, a Lutheran layman.
— Use of resources and programs in one country that might havevalue in other countries, for instance in the area of child advocacy.
— Better utilization by churches and Christians of contacts withnon-government organizations (NGOs) that the EBF and the Baptist WorldAlliance already have through the United Nations and European Union.
— Reporting and pursuit of human rights violations through legalchannels, depending on different regional and international protocolssigned by different governments. Louise Krabbe, legal officer andproject coordinator of the Danish Centre for Human Rights, presented toseminar participants both historical backgrounds on the major humanrights protocols in Europe and case studies of how different humanrights instruments had been used in legal challenges in differentEuropean countries.
— While some Christians think participating in politicalprocesses, even voting, is not right for Christians, seminarparticipants voiced consensus that Baptists in Europe should become moreactive in political processes in their countries and become more activein and cooperate with existing human rights organizations in Europeancountries, i.e. Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International and otherswhich offer different kinds of assistance, some focusing on education,others political advocacy or documenting human rights violations.
Seminar participants came from Denmark, Germany, Croatia, Serbia,Macedonia, Finland, Sweden, Albania, Poland, Belgium, United Kingdom,Bulgaria, Romania, Scotland and the United States.
The seminar included times of fellowship and recounting what eachparticipant and their countrymen faced in exercising their faith. “Ourreligious freedom does not come from Moscow, Helsinki, Strasbourg, orWashington,” Theo Angelov of Bulgaria reminded the group. “It comes inand through (the Bible) and the Person who said, ‘I was in prison andyou visited me.’ In his person is our guarantee, our security for thefuture.”