A Christian charity has called on the United Nations to increase efforts to expose violations of freedom of religion and expression in the U.S., Europe and Australia.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, an organization that advocates for the rights of the people to freely live out their faith, issued the call last Friday in response to the U.N. report on the Freedom of Religion or Belief during the General Debate at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council.
The group voiced its concern that the report had failed to address the existing violations of the freedom of religion or belief in Western countries.
"We see a massive curtailing of fundamental liberties in the West. While religious oppression may be fiercer in other regions of the world, we must not turn a blind eye to the developments in the US, Europe, or Australia," said Rubén Navarro, Senior UN Counsel for ADF International.
Navarro noted that many have been forced out of the public square for refusing to abandon their religious convictions.
"We have seen many cases of bakers, florists, photographers, or venue providers, who have simply exercised their right to religious freedom. They have refused facilitating or promoting such concepts as same-sex unions or other ideas that stand in stark contrast to their faith," he added.
He pointed out that international law provides equal protection to all people, and it prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion."
Navarro contended that the U.N. should not concede that citizens should lose their jobs or be sent to jail for refusing to violate their religious beliefs.
ADF International further noted that the U.N. report also failed to address the issue of "hate speech" laws, despite the growing tendency in the West to use it as a way to curb free speech and silence debate.
In his Oral Statement, Navarro cited the case of Australian Archbishop of Hobart, who was summoned by a state tribunal to explain the distribution of a booklet on Catholic teaching about marriage at one of the Catholic schools in his diocese.
Navarro contended that prosecuting clerics for publicly speaking about traditional views about marriage, sexuality and family is inconsistent with the democratic culture. He urged the U.N. to conduct an investigation and create a detailed report on the violations of freedom of religion or belief in the future.