Religious Rights Cited on Anniversary of Universal Declaration

NEW YORK (AP) - The United Nations has declared this Human
Rights Day, marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

The declaration's Article 18 declares: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes
freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

Felice Gaer, who chairs the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, says it's a noble standard that many nations ignore by forbidding worship, conversion or proselytizing.

Gaer warns that efforts in the U.N. to ban "defamation of religion" could further restrict rights which the declaration calls universal.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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