Protecting Religious Diversity for Building Peace and Preventing Violence by: Janet Blake

Document Type : Original Article


This article seeks to take a broadly human rights-based perspective to the question of the role that religion can play in building peace, preventing violence and reaching reconciliation in post-conflict situations. It takes as a fundamental position the notion that religions contain within themselves the potential for peaceful co-existence and preventing violence in all its forms. However, it also recognizes that there are numerous cases in which religion has served as the vehicle for expressing violent views and even as the pretext for violent acts. In taking a human rights perspective, it is necessary to ensure protection for religions and religious belief in order to foster this peace-building capacity of religions and to mitigate the possibility for them to be exploited towards violent ends. It is important to concentrate on the values that underpin building a culture of peace, including those taught us by the world’s major religions and supported by the secular values of human rights. This notion of peace comprises important elements allow people to enjoy a sense of security in their lives which, in turn, allows them to develop and take an attitude of tolerance towards others.