“Churches must resume their historic support for human rights and human dignity,” says Lutheran Head

In lieu of the observation of the 56th International Human Rights Day (IHRD) today, the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) urged churches worldwide to re-examine their role in promoting human rights, and to pray for those who continue to live under oppression.

to act in solidarity with the victims of oppression. Let us re-examine the role of our churches, including in the teaching of human rights as well as in their promotion. And let

In lieu of the observation of the 56th International Human Rights Day (IHRD) today, the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) urged churches worldwide to re-examine their role in promoting human rights, and to pray for those who continue to live under oppression.

December 10, 1948 marks the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in response to the tragedies that were taking place in many nations during the Second World War.

In a statement released by the LWF, Friday, the general secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko pointed out that even after 50 years human rights and freedom is still restricted in many nations.

“At this moment in history many hard-won human rights guarantees are once again being questioned and challenged, in the name of national security and the ‘war against terrorism’,” Noko wrote.

Therefore, he said, “Churches must remember and resume their historic support for the principles of human rights and for the legal protections of human dignity.”

He also pointed out that the IHRD “reminds [the church] of the continued conflict and division in our world and its brutal contrast to the peace and reconciliation that Christ came to bring,” especially because of the time of Advent.

The IRDH is observed annually with rallies, seminars and gatherings worldwide. This year, churches and church-related grassroots organizations observed “16 days of overcoming violence against women and children” to help center the issue on human rights to those whose rights have oft-been stricken. Entitled, “On the Wings of a Dove,” the 16-day campaign, which began on November 25, culminates today in light of the IRDH.

The following is the full text of the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation’s statement on International Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day, observed on December 10 each year, is an occasion for reflection on how many people around the world continue to be denied their rights and fundamental freedoms – the rights and freedoms that respect the image of God in every human being, and that are enshrined in international law. In the midst of our joyful Advent journey towards the great celebration of Christmas, International Human Rights Day reminds us of the continued conflict and division in our world and its brutal contrast to the peace and reconciliation that Christ came to bring.

At this moment in history many hard-won human rights guarantees are once again being questioned and challenged, in the name of national security and the ‘war against terrorism’. Churches must remember and resume their historic support for the principles of human rights and for the legal protections of human dignity.

On this day, let us pray for all those who suffer human injustice, and re-commit ourselves to act in solidarity with the victims of oppression. Let us re-examine the role of our churches, including in the teaching of human rights as well as in their promotion. And let us overcome our reticence to be prophets in the struggle for justice and human rights.