Voluntary Codes of Conduct for Religious Persuasion: Effective Tools for Balancing Human Rights and Resolving Conflicts?

in Religion & Human Rights
Open Access

Abstract

Attempts by people of faith to persuade others to their beliefs can provoke conflicts—even violence—in communities intent on protecting their privacy and identity. Both advocates and targets claim the protection of competing human rights, which must be balanced. Voluntary codes of conduct offer a viable alternative to government regulation. This article evaluates twenty-one codes and identifies which have greatest potential for conflict-resolution. Effective codes balance competing rights consistent with international law norms, respect multiple traditions, and address a general audience. They motivate compliance, provide a platform for dialogue, and promote the pluralism necessary to freedom of conscience. In contrast, codes focused on a single faith’s or network’s own constituencies are less likely to prevent or resolve conflicts because they tend to advocate a sectarian view and sometimes violate international law. Like aggressive state regulations, these codes can perpetuate rather than prevent conflict.

Religion & Human Rights

An International Journal

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