UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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Concluding Document of the Vienna Meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)

The Concluding Document of the Vienna Meeting of the CSCE was adopted 19 January 1989.

Questions relating to Security in Europe - Principles 

    (13)  In this context [i.e. the respect of human rights] they [i.e. the participating States] will 
      (13.7)  - ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms to everyone within their territory and subject to their jurisdiction, without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status; 

    (16)  In order to ensure the freedom of the individual to profess and practise religion or belief, the participating States will, inter alia, 

      (16.1)  - take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination against individuals or communities on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, political, economic, social and cultural life, and to ensure the effective equality between believers and non-believers; 

      (16.2)  - foster a climate of mutual tolerance and respect between believers of different communities as well as between believers and non-believers; 

      (16.3)  - grant upon their request to communities of believers, practising or prepared to practise their faith within the constitutional framework of their States, recognition of the status provided for them in their respective countries; 

      (16.4)  - respect the right of these religious communities to 
      - establish and maintain freely accessible places of worship or assembly, 
      - organize themselves according to their own hierarchical and institutional structure, 
      - select, appoint and replace their personnel in accordance with their respective requirements and standards as well as with any freely accepted arrangement between them and their State, 
      - solicit and receive voluntary financial and other contributions; 

      (16.5)  - engage in consultations with religious faiths, institutions and organizations in order to achieve a better understanding of the requirements of religious freedom; 

      (16.6)  - respect the right of everyone to give and receive religious education in the language of his choice, whether individually or in association with others; 

      (16.7)  - in this context respect, inter alia, the liberty of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions; 

      (16.8)  - allow the training of religious personnel in appropriate institutions; 

      (16.9)  - respect the right of individual believers and communities of believers to acquire, possess, and use sacred books, religious publications in the language of their choice and other articles and materials related to the practice of religion or belief, 

      (16.10)  - allow religious faiths, institutions and organizations to produce, import and disseminate religious publications and materials; 

      (16.11)  - favourably consider the interest of religious communities to participate in public dialogue, including through the mass media. 

    (17)  The participating States recognize that the exercise of the above-mentioned rights relating to the freedom of religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are provided by law and consistent with their obligations under international law and with their international commitments.  They will ensure in their laws and regulations and in their application the full and effective exercise of the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.

Co-operation in Humanitarian and Other Fields - Human Contacts 
    (32)  They [i.e. the participating states] will allow believers, religious faiths and  their  representatives,  in  groups  or  on  an individual basis,  to  establish  and  maintain  direct  personal  contacts  and  communication  with each   other,   in their  own  and  other  countries,  inter alia  through  travel,  pilgrimages  and participation   in   assemblies and other  religious  events.  In  this  context  and  commensurate  with such  contacts  and  events,  those concerned will be allowed to  acquire,  receive  and  carry  with them  religious  publications  and  objects related to the practice of their religion or belief.
Source: A full text version of this document can be found on the Internet site of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. 

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