Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Religious Freedom has attended the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) held at the Hofburg Conference Center in Vienna on 9-10 December 2010. In a meeting organized jointly by Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), representatives from the 56 OSCE participating states, from civil society, and from international organizations reviewed the current status of religious freedom in the OSCE area and discuss how to promote freedom of religion or belief and to respond to emerging challenges. Special sessions were devoted to sensitive topics such as education and religious symbols and expression.
From the OSCE press release: “Since the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, freedom of religion or belief has been one of the main pillars of the OSCE’s human dimension commitments. Participating States have committed themselves to respect the right to change one’s religion or belief and to manifest religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, in public or in private, through worship, teaching, practice and observance. They also emphasized the importance of strengthening interfaith and intercultural dialogue to promote greater tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.”