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25.04.2006 General News

Ghana hosts All Africa Congress on Religious freedom

By GNA

Accra, April 25, GNA - A three-day All Africa Religious Liberty Congress opened in Accra on Tuesday to seek ways for combating religious intolerance and to develop mutual understanding as a means of promoting peace.

The congress on the theme: "Religious Liberty: Co-existence in Peace and Freedom in Diversity," would analyse threats to religious freedom, examine causes to religiously inspired violence, extremism and intolerance and work out solutions for creating enabling conditions for inter-faiths co-existence.

Addressing the congress, Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, commended religious bodies for their contributions to Ghana's socio-economic development, stressing; "they took the lead in establishing schools all over the country when the Colonial Government was not quite ready and continued to the delivery of health-care, potable water and other necessities of life".

She urged religious bodies to invest in science and technology education to increase access to tertiary education. Mrs Asmah encouraged religious bodies to educate their members on the National Health Insurance Scheme and them to collaborate with District Assemblies to champion and educate their congregation and communities on sanitation to improve upon the lives of the people. Dr Eugene Hsu, Vice President of International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), organizers of the congress, said the religious bodies sought to use the Accra Conference to contribute to the promotion of the fundamental rights of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

"We will be working to address the challenges of discrimination and intolerance, especially as it related to the principles of religious freedom," he stated. IRLA was charted in 1893 to promote and defend religious freedom and believes that religious freedom was the best answer to both religious fanaticism and bigotry. 25 April 06

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