June 7, 2021 — BYU Law held a Talk About: session on “Advancing Religious Freedom in Different Political Regimes.” Experts from different political regimes around the world filled panel seats, including Jan Figel, former Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU; Mine Yildirim, founder of the Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey; Knox Thames, former special advisor for religious minorities for the U.S. Department of State; and Myanmar’s Seng Mai Aung. The other two panelist seats were filled by Brett Scharffs and Elizabeth Clark of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Each panelist reported on their work in respective political regimes, including Myanmar, Iraq, the European Union, Turkey, and the work that the International Center for Law and Religion Studies has done with different political regimes.
Brett Scharffs concluded with these remarks: “We have to care for each other in order for us to claim that [human dignity is] universal…. There are ways of advocating that are uniquely Western, but that doesn’t undermine the universality of the values of human dignity. Everyone, everywhere, cares about their own freedoms. These are human values that really are universal even though our models of advocacy can take on cultural characteristics. And sometimes we have to be careful about that.”