News Release

Elder Frerich Gorts Attends Launch of the Global Charter of Conscience

Frerich Görts, former undersecretary of the German federal government and currently serving as representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the European Union institutions, attended the launch of the Global Charter of Conscience. The document reaffirms and supports Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event, hosted by Finnish MEP Sari Essayah, took place at the European Parliament, in Brussels, on June 21, 2012.

Key speakers were Prof. Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Dr. Os Guinness, sociologist and social critic, the initiator and drafter Charter, as well as Prof. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom and Professor of Sociology of Religion.

“This is a powerful document. The potential to inspire practical commitment and to contribute to a better understanding of human rights in general is enormous,” commented Prof. Bielefeldt.

Frerich Görts, who later had the opportunity to discuss matters of freedom of thought, conscience and religion with Prof. Schirrmacher, said that “It is not sufficient to observe the events of the day and regretfully take note of the freedoms of religion, conscience and belief being more and more restricted and trampled upon. It is essential for states, but also for groups and individuals to consider it to be their duty and their privilege to defend the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This is the demand of the charter.”

The Global Charter of Conscience has been drafted and published by a group of followers of many faiths and none, politicians of many persuasions, academics and NGOs who are committed to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” for all people. According to the Charter’s website, the document “calls for the cultivation of civility and the construction of a civil public square that maximises freedom for everyone. It provides a vision and framework to help […] discuss and resolve our present problems in a constructive, rights-honouring manner.”

Additional resources:
•    Official website of the Charter:


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