This is the twelfth in a series of posts on this week’s OSCE “Human Dimension Implementation” meeting in Warsaw. More will be coming later this week. See the list of links at the bottom of this post for previous articles.
Kamal Fahmi is a Christian activist from Sudan who is representing an NGO called “Set My People Free” at this week’s meeting. Below is a video of his presentation to the plenary at yesterday’s session in Warsaw.
Below is the transcribed text of Mr. Fahmi’s words:
What we are discussing today about article 18 which is freedom of thought, conscience and religion and belief.
Within this religion, we have the freedom to change; within Islam you don’t have this choice with over 1.3 billion people they don’t have the freedom to change. That’s that.
We have to rely that as human beings, [?] and just listening to you today, we have different opinions, we have different agendas. We have different ways of thinking. And I would like the world to be like this room, where we can talk and discuss and we [have] our points of view, without killing. And to have the right to change one’s religion.
[?] It doesn’t work, we are created free. And God has given us the freedom, because he wants us to love him and without freedom we cannot love God.
And so together we have to work on freedom of speech. It is crucial. Thomas Jefferson said:
“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter.”
And my brothers and sisters here, we invite you to work for freedom of speech. For equality. For justice between people. For equal rights as citizens of countries.
And I would like you not to implement laws [that are being requested] of Europe today. And also the [?] The Middle East and in Islamic states to have freedom of conscience and thought.
Freedom to change our belief and to follow the things we like to follow.
Because without freedom there is no way to be creative and no way to protest an injustice.
And I would just like to end with what Dag Hammarskjold said:
“Freedom from fear could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights.”