Federation of World Peace and Love

Safeguarding Freedom of Religion or Belief
with Love and Conscience



Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Aug. 22, 2021



In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly designated August 22 as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief during its 73rd session. The resolution strongly condemns all acts of violence against people on the basis of their religion or belief and any such acts against their properties, businesses, places of worship, schools, or cultural centers. All nations are urged to investigate religious persecutions, which are on the rise, as well as respect and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief so as to alleviate the suffering of people who are persecuted for their religion or belief and to promote religious freedom.

First and foremost, we would like to pay tribute to those who have been attacked, threatened, persecuted, or even lost their lives in the defense of their religion or belief. Meanwhile, we sincerely pray that those who are persecuted on such grounds will remain firm in their convictions, adhere to the truth, and overcome challenges with a clear conscience, despite the oppression and suffering inflicted on them.

UN Secretary General António Guterres delivered his message for the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief in 2020, emphasizing, “The right to freedom of religion or belief is firmly entrenched in international human rights law and is a cornerstone for inclusive, prosperous and peaceful societies.” It is clear that freedom of religion or belief is a universal value and has recently become a focus of international human rights concern. The promotion of freedom of religion or belief is the responsibility of the global community, which should be committed to fighting persecution and promoting and protecting everyone’s inalienable right to freedom of religion or belief.

Everyone’s right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is one of the most fundamental rights enshrined in many international human rights conventions, such as Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and Article 12 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and all of them recognize the importance of protecting this right. However, governments, which are supposed to protect human rights, are frequently the ones that violate them. In the international community, cases of violations of freedom of religion or belief for reasons of narrow-mindedness, discrimination, power struggles, or self-interest are not uncommon. Therefore, the United Nations repeatedly calls on all nations to embrace inclusion and diversity to eradicate the root causes of intolerance and discrimination. The only way to build mutual trust between a government and its people is to respect the diversity of beliefs and cultures with conscience, to begin a dialogue, and to tolerate different views and opinions, so as to promote mutual respect and understanding among individuals, communities, and nations, and to appreciate and learn from each other. Only in this way will we have the opportunity to truly implement freedom of religion or belief while promoting global peace, harmony, and coexistence.

Religion or belief is the education of life, which encourages people to contemplate the meaning and value of their lives. As a result of such revelation, people will be able to appreciate life, respect others, and cherish themselves, and they will extend their self-respect and self-love to their families and communities; additionally, they will stay humble, respect Heaven and Earth, protect the environment, be grateful for what they have, and contribute positively to the world to benefit all living things.

Religion or belief is a spiritual pillar as well as a moral code that guides people's thoughts and conduct in accordance with their conscience. It guides us to self-reflect, achieve self-realization, improve ourselves, and do good deeds. It is a process of recovering our conscience and finding our genuine selves. Belief points us in the right path, guides us in our search for truth, and gives us the strength to move forward. Because of our belief, we take real actions, correct our mistakes, and gain a deeper understanding of the truth, purify our hearts, practice love and peace, insist on upholding justice, elevate our spirituality, reclaim our true selves, and liberalize our hearts and souls. 

In a democratic society, freedom of thought, belief, and religion is its fundamental characteristics. Today, we are discussing cases of violations of freedom of religion, freedom of belief, and freedom of thought in the context of human dignity, which is related to the dignity of the legal system, freedom of conscience, and the rights and well-being of all people. Only those who can uphold their faith and belief, who will not compromise with any force of evil, and who will protect basic human dignity, safeguard their conscience, and defend human rights with love and conscience, are practitioners of self-betterment that can tell right from wrong, stand tall, and are brave and fearless!

I thank you for your dedication and contribution, which stem from your love for humanity and your expectations for your countries, the world, justice, and human rights. Let us work together to uphold our beliefs and the truth. We believe that by doing so, we strengthen our convictions, gain a better understanding of the truth through practice, and we become more blessed as we give out more love. Greater value is added to our lives because of our dedication. Let us join hands and march forward to protect the freedom of religion or belief with love and conscience, and to create a peaceful world where genuine truth, genuine goodness, and genuine beauty prevail.


*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief