Fundamental Freedoms

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BWA General Council Resolution 1982.3

Ever since the Baptist World Congress in Atlanta in 1939 the Baptist World Alliance has spoken out with regularity on behalf of religious freedom for all persons, and in more recent years on behalf of civil liberties generally.

Therefore we welcome the proclamation by the United Nations in November 1981 of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief. We urge the United Nations to proceed with the drafting of a covenant, to be offered to the nations for signature and ratification, which would translate the declaration into law. We ask our member bodies to encourage the irrespective governments to participate in such a treaty-making process.

We take note with regret that the existing International Covenants on Human Rights (and optional protocol) have not obtained the support of all nations. We also note that there are international conventions on specific aspects of human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and that these conventions have been adhered to by all the apportioned organizations here represented. We ask our member bodies to review such covenants and conventions with a view to encouraging the non-ratifying governments to signify their adherence thereto.

We proclaim once more that the God who gave us life called us to liberty. We are committed to the teaching of the New Testament concerning the importance of freedom as well as its source (John 8:36; Galatians 5).

Meeting as we are on the Continent of Africa, we are acutely conscious of the need for further progress toward the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, particularly where governments restrict the fundamental freedom of one or more races within their jurisdiction. We appeal to all governments to promptly abolish restrictions of a racial nature including the evil called apartheid and those which restrict freedom of expression freedom of association and freedom of movement.


Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1982 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1982.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1982 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1982), p. 70.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1982.3 Fundamental Freedoms;

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1982.3).

For more information about Baptist World Alliance resolutions, visit

Since its formation in 1905, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the global Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.

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