2019 Oxford Conferences

In conjunction with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies Young Scholars Fellowship on Religion and the Rule of Law, hosted at Christ Church, Oxford, 22 July-10 August 2019, the Center hosted or co-hosted three other conferences.

  • Human Dignity from Judges’ Perspective, 24-25 July
  • Human Dignity in Religious Traditions, 30-31 July
  • Religious Persecution in the World Today: Diagnoses, Prognoses, Treatments, Cures

Human Dignity from Judges’ Perspective

July 24-25, 2019 the International Center for Law and Religion Studies hosted a conference at Pembroke College in Oxford titled Human Dignity from Judges’ Perspective. The two day conference, overseen by Dr. Dmytro Vovk of the Center for Rule of Law and Religion Studies at Yaroslav the Wise National University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, included discussion on the following topics:

  • Human Dignity in Common Law Jurisdiction and Mixed Legal Systems
  • Human Dignity in Adjudication: Comparative Perspective
  • Dignity, Human Rights, and Religion
  • Human Dignity in International Jurisdictions
  • Human Dignity in Civil Law Jurisdictions
  • Human Dignity in Post-Soviet Legal Systems
  • Human Dignity: Chinese Perspective in the Context of Punta Del Este Declaration on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere

Contributors from around the world shared their perspectives. Many of the papers presented may be published in a future volume on the conference theme.  To learn more about the program and the speakers, please select the link below.

Program & Directory: Human Dignity from Judges’ Perspective

Human Dignity in Religious Traditions

This conference, held 30-31 of July 2019, launched the Human Dignity in Religious Traditions (HDRT) Project. A group of 8 scholars from different religious traditions met at Christ Church, Oxford to begin a conversation that maps the initial points of convergence and divergence on human dignity among the world’s religions; and to set a clear agenda for the subsequent workshop in Yogyakarta in 2020.

Following the publication of the Punta del Este Declaration on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere in December, 2018, the Human Dignity in Religious Traditions (HDRT) Project is a research project jointly organized by the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), Baylor University, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University. The purposes of the HDRT Project can be outlined as follows:

  1. To conduct research on sacred and historically important texts and practices within the world’s religious traditions that describe and display the importance of human dignity.
  2. To facilitate conversation among members of the world’s religious traditions around shared and disputed understandings of human dignity and its entailments.
  3. To provide academic and popular resources for understanding the importance of human dignity within the world’s religious traditions.

Religious Persecution in the World Today: Diagnoses, Prognoses, Treatments, Cures

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies, the AMAR Foundation, and LDS Charities hosted a conference on Religious Persecution in the World Today: Diagnoses, Prognoses, Treatments, Cures at Christ Church College, Oxford University on the 2-3 of August 2019. The conference was held in conjunction with ICLRS’ Young Scholars Fellowship on Religion and the Rule of Law held 22 July to 10 of August.

This conference focused on the contemporary phenomenon of religious persecution, with a particular emphasis on better understanding how to diagnosis the causes of religious persecution in the world today, to reflect upon the diagnoses of how the persecution phenomena can be ameliorated, and what the treatments are to help address crises of persecution, and what the long-term cures are for religious and other forms of persecution in the world today. The goal of the conference was to present working papers that can be developed into a book that will focus on creating a road map to help persecuted groups traverse the terrain from persecution to inclusion.

Nearly seventy-five years after the end of World War II, and seventy years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in many parts of the world there are severe instances of religious persecution – not just discrimination, marginalisation or hostility, but mass atrocities, including murder, torture, bodily harm, rape and sexual violence, slavery and forced labor, forced displacement, forced conversion, and atrocities that may be classified as crimes against humanity, war crimes or even genocide. Seventy years after the world in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights collectively resolved “never again” in response to the horrors of the Holocaust, we find ourselves once again facing serious cases of religious persecution that cannot be neglected. This in spite of the fact that communication is better than it has ever been, with ease of transportation better than it has ever been, diaspora able to communicate easily with local communities, social media that has democratized the ability to shine a spotlight on problems – factors that it seems should mitigate persecution. And yet, we see examples of persecution in various places in the world: Amadis in Pakistan; Yazidis in Iraq; Rohingyas in Myanmar; Baha’is in Iran and Yemen; Christians in many parts of the Middle East; Uighurs and Tibetan Buddhists (among others) in China; Christians and Muslims in India; and resurgent anti-Semitism in France and other parts of Europe – to name a few.

This conference aimed to achieve a better understanding about why this is happening now, and what can be done to help minority groups traverse the terrain from persecution to inclusion.

The first day was devoted to the question of Why. Why do we see such persecution today? What are the factors, large and small, that contribute to persecution today? How do we diagnose the contemporary phenomena of religious persecution? The conference opened with a keynote given by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne who spoke on the AMAR Foundation’s efforts to assist the Yazidis and the research done into historical genocidal attacks over the centuries. Read more from the Baroness’s perspective:  Helping the Yazidis and Ending Religious Persecution.

The second day was devoted to questions of prognosis, treatments and cures. What is the prognosis, and what are the treatments and cures for religious persecution? What are the factors that make the journey from persecution to inclusion possible, including what needs to be done by the international community to effectively address the issue of religious persecution and how processes of inclusion can help ensure the future of persecuted communities.

Organizers of the conference were:

  • International Center for Law and Religion Studies
  • AMAR Foundation
  • LDS Charities

Co-organizers were:

  • The Religion, Law, and International Relations Programme, Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, Regent’s Park College, Oxford
  • The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion
  • The Oxford Society of Law and Religion
  • Programme for the Foundations of Law & Constitutional Government, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
  • Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University
  • BYU London Centre
  • APPG on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Program: Religious Persecution in the World Today: Diagnoses, Prognoses, Treatments, Cures

Biographies of participants