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Relationship between religion and human rights, and the work of the Bahá’í community in wholeheartedly supporting the theory and practice of universal rights.
This chapter was excerpted from the complete file, which is online at

A More Constructive Encounter:
A Bahá’í View of Religion and Human Rights

by Barney Leith

published in Does God Believe in Human Rights? Essays on Religion and Human Rights, ed. Nazila Ghanea et al., pages 121-144
Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007
About (from Foreword, pp. xvi-xvii):

In this chapter, John Barnabas Leith elaborates the clear theological foundations and commitment of the Bahá’í Faith to universal human-rights values. He draws on both the Bahá’í sacred writings and the practice of the Bahá’í International Community, a UN non-governmental organisation, in support of his position. Bahá’í sacred writings are centrally concerned with questions of good governance and judicial, social and economic justice. This is rooted, at least in part, in the concern that all individuals should be allowed to develop their qualities and capacities for their own good and the good of society as a whole. It is further developed, Leith argues, in the principle of the oneness of humankind which lies at the core of Bahá’í teachings. This has wide-ranging implications for societal justice, from the abandonment of prejudice to the embracing of diversity. Each and every human being, in Bahá’í perspective, is worthy of moral protection and the holder of inalienable human rights; each human being is a trust of the whole of humankind. These principles are explored further in relation to the freedom of all individuals to investigate reality for themselves, the freedom of religion and belief, human dignity, and in the development of a peaceful and united global civilisation. These principles are then examined in relation to a number of Bahá’í human rights activities – particularly the defence of the human rights of the Bahá’ís in Iran.

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