Campus Adventiste du Salève Commemorates 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Inter-European Division

Campus Adventiste du Salève Commemorates 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Collonges, France, university hosts a special Human Rights Weekend, attended by leaders and community members committed to religious and civil liberty

Human Interest | France | Paulo Macedo

In a poignant celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Campus Adventiste du Salève, in Collonges, France, hosted a remarkable Human Rights Weekend. The event spanned over two days, drawing attention to the significance of freedom and the pivotal role it plays in fostering goodwill and understanding, particularly through the lens of religious liberty.

The weekend commenced with a thought-provoking sermon delivered on Sabbath morning by Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Diop explored the theme of freedom as a foundational and paramount principle of God's love, as expressed in the Bible. His message resonated with attendees, emphasizing the interconnectedness of freedom, love, faith, and human rights.

The afternoon saw an insightful conference centered around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, bringing together participants to discuss the memory of the document and the current state of human rights globally, especially religious freedom. The discourse touched on pressing issues, challenges, and the ongoing work to ensure the protection of the fundamental right of religious liberty for all individuals.

As the sun set, the campus came alive with an award ceremony recognizing individuals and programs that have made significant contributions to the advancement of religious liberty.

Viorel Dima was celebrated for his outstanding work in Romania as a champion of religious liberty, receiving the Award of Excellence from the Centre International pour la Liberté Religieuse et les Affaires Publiques (CILRAP). The Hope Medal was bestowed upon young law professor Ivan dos Santos for his contributions to CILRAP, highlighting his dedication to the organization of its events.

Photo: Collonges
Photo: Collonges

The Beach International Award was presented to Maurice Verfaillie, former secretary general for the Association International pour la Défense de la Liberté Religieuse (AIDLR), recognizing his tireless efforts in promoting and defending religious liberty, both as PARL director for the Inter-European Division (EUD) and AIDLR secretary general. Additionally, a posthumous honor was conferred upon Pièrre Lanarés, commemorating his legacy with the Memorial Award for his unwavering commitment to religious liberty and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The following day, the event continued with the fourth installment of the traditional March for Human Rights, symbolizing a collective stride towards the respect of human dignity and freedom. Starting at the Church La Madeleine in Geneva, the march culminated at the Campus Adventiste du Salève, symbolizing the unity and commitment of individuals from different backgrounds and faiths in upholding human rights.

The culmination of the weekend took the form of a concert for human rights at the campus, celebrating the power of music and the arts as mediums for understanding peace. The atmosphere was charged with positivity and solidarity, showcasing the shared commitment to creating a world where human rights are respected and protected.

Photo: Collonges
Photo: Collonges

This year's Human Rights Weekend in Collonges was made possible through the collaboration and support of the CILRAP, the Campus Adventiste du Salève, and the AIDLR, represented respectively by John Graz, Jean-Phillip Lehman, and Paulo Macedo.

The event was attended by United Nations officers, leaders from the EUD, representatives from AIDLR national chapters, the Franco-Belgian Union, and the French-Italian Swiss Conference, and participants from the community, highlighting the widespread commitment to religious liberty principles and its advocacy.

Mário Brito, president of the EUD and AIDLR, expressed his appreciation for the event. “I am particularly happy to be here today,” he stated, “and the reason for my satisfaction is to see how it is possible for us to unite for noble causes. We are gathered here from different backgrounds, with different responsibilities and roles, representing various institutions and organizations. But fundamentally, with the singular agenda of our common belief in freedom, with the unique function of ensuring it, with the singular representation of our willingness to tread the common path of its defense.”

Photo: Collonges
Photo: Collonges

As the weekend came to a close, organizers announced that the next special Human Rights Weekend in Collonges is scheduled for 2025. The anticipation for the future gatherings underscores the enduring importance of fostering freedom, dialogue, understanding, and cooperation to build a society where religious liberty and fundamental human rights are truly universal and upheld by all.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-European Division website.