Resolutions World Congres of Ethnic Religions & Traditions, Antwerp, Belgium 10 june 2005
The undersigned representatives of the WCER hereby endorse the following resolutions the WCER voted upon on 08th-09th-10th of June 2005 in Antwerp, Belgium:
Jessiee Kaur Singh Australia Sikh
Meerat Kaur Great Britain Sikh
Rajinder Singh Great Britain Sikh/Hindu
Bal Krishan Chaudhari India Hindu
Mrs. Pushpa Rani Chaudhari India Hindu
Swami Aksharananda (Dr. Odaipaul Singh) South America Hindu
Surinder Paul Attri USA - Sikh
Anne Ferlat France Asatrú
Denis Dornoy France Asatrú
Kurt Oertel Germany Asatrú
Ingmar Lauer Germany Asatrú
Isabel Jauss Germany Asatrú
Pia Struck Denmark Asatrú
Morten Grølsted Denmark Asatrú
Stefaan Van den Eynde Belgium Asatrú (Werkgroep Traditie)
Koenraad Logghe Belgium Asatrú (Werkgroep Traditie)
Inija Trinkuniene Lithuania Romuva (Old Baltic Religion)
Michael Strmiska (professor) USA Romuva (Old Baltic Religion)
Michael York (professor) United Kingdom Vanatrú
Richard Switzler USA Vanatrú
Jean Lionel Manquat France Druidic Group of Gauls
Pierre Collier France Druidic Group of Gauls
Michel Baron France Druidic Group of Gauls
Stephan Bondran France Druidic Group of Gauls
Aija Svilane Latvia Old Latvian Religion
Ramants Jansons Latvia Old Latvian Religion
Vlassis Rassias Greece Ethnic Hellenic Religion
Marina Pasarakis Greece - Ethnic Hellenic Religion
Claudio Simeoni Italy Federazione Pagana
Manuela Simeoni Italy Federazione Pagana
Lorenza Minto Italy Federazione Pagana
Paola Zuffi Italy Federazione Pagana
Ferdinando Cattapan Italy Federazione Pagana
We, as delegates of the World Congress of Ethnic Religions and Traditions, representing the worlds ethnic and traditional religious communities,
affirm the general principle of equal rights for all peoples, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual preferences, physical and mental abilities, economic situations and religious identities
stress the importance of the following:
freedom of self-expression for all peoples, including spiritual and religious identities, beliefs, customs and practices
equal opportunities for women and men in all respects, and, in particular, equality of value for all women and men in religious matters
a safe, nurturing and educational environment for all children
Considering that, in many cases, the nominal number of believers often plays a decisive role in governmental recognitions of religions
Considering that majority religions have greater influence on governmental policies in comparison to religious minorities
Considering that our traditional religious movements are frequently regarded by the Government as new religious movements and that the assumed antiquity of a religion is often regarded as a necessary condition for recognition
Considering that so-called new religious movements are often falsely perceived as dangerous or antisocial cults or sects
Considering that love for our ethnic heritage is often incorrectly interpreted as a form of racism or xenophobia
Considering that many sacred sites are damaged or threatened by complete destruction
Considering that the sacred sites within a state belong to the historical heritage of all people within that state regardless of their ethnicity, culture and/or religious tradition and, hence, that these sacred sites are worthy of careful protection for future generations
Considering that the diversity of peoples, cultures, languages and spiritual traditions constitutes the genuine richness of our existence
Considering that there is a growing tendency towards homogenisation in all areas of society
Considering that religious traditions are instruments to practice spirituality in daily life
Therefore, by the present Covenant, the participating ethnic religions and traditions, through the undersigned Representatives, urge
from the Government,
We ask that the Government would acknowledge that ethnic religions and traditions even when practiced by religious associations that are perceived as so-called new religious movements are continuations of the ancient religious heritages and traditions of the forebears and that these ethnic religions and traditions are all particular expressions of the same fundamental values.
Because ethnic religions and traditions believe that the world process is divine in nature, we urge that the Government acknowledges that for followers of ethnic and traditional religions, the world has a spiritual and enchanted dimension and spiritual values, apart from the purely material.
Because ethnic religions and traditions believe that religion is a pluriform phenomenon, we ask that the state reflect religious plurality in all possible diversity and that it encourage respect for all the various religions that are connected to the land, the people, the culture and the history of the state.
Since diversity safeguards the richness of our planet, and since spiritual diversity guarantees the richness of our minds, we urge the authorities to explicitly encourage the freedom of religion but also to strongly condemn those forms of proselytism that attempt to convert vulnerable peoples under false pretenses such as promises to improve the social status or the economic situation of new converts or by methods which are disrespectful to their intrinsic dignity.
Because ethnic religions and traditions believe that growing global uniformity is suppressing minority identities, we urge the Government to safeguard the diversity and richness of ethnic, cultural and religious traditions and to protect and support the existence of all local and traditional religious communities by means of appropriate legislation.
Since love for ethnic heritage is often confused with racism and xenophobia, we ask that the Government encourage understanding of the fundamental difference between political organizations and movements, on the one hand, and the religious communities whose open-mindedness, values and principles are based on local cultures and traditions, on the other.
We urge the Government to preserve and protect, through appropriate legislation, all sacred sites, not only those that are being threatened. In addition, the ethnic religions and traditions ask the permission to perform their rites on all sites which they hold to be sacred or regard as of particular importance to their ethnic, cultural and/or religious heritage. By no means should the need for protective measures be used by the Government as an excuse to deny the right of religious communities access to perform rites at these sites.
Because ethnic religions and traditions believe that the growing flow of information may cause an identity crisis within traditional communities, we urge the Government to promote educational programmes that enable ethnic religions, traditions and cultures to integrate new information into traditional frames of thinking.
Because we believe that all religious traditions may function as different but equally valid spiritual paths, we ask the Government to create and guarantee the conditions necessary for all religions to coexist within the state in an atmosphere of tolerance, harmony and mutual cooperation.
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