Protecting holy sites – a new phase including new countries

A new phase of the project

The Oslo Center is now implementing the fourth phase of the project ‘Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites’ together with our partners.

Since the pilots in Bosnia Herzegovina and Israel and the Palestinian territories were started in 2010 and 2011, we have in 2014 initiated new field projects in Indonesia and Nigeria, implementing the Code. Our aim is to get religious leaders with different faith backgrounds to cooperate on the protection of their holy sites, and to promote reconciliation between different faith groups. Another key component is to work on educational activities, to raise awareness of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, as well as the significance of holy sites.

In Israel and the Palestinian territories, our partner Search for Common Ground, is working with Muslim and Christian teachers to develop a joint curriculum for schools, as well as a creating a database of attacks on holy sites, similar to the one developed by the Inter-Religious Council in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Mapping of Holy Sites

In Indonesia, the first activity started was a mapping of holy sites as no comprehensive overview of sites in the country currently exists. The partners have also started to develop a comic book and a film that will be used in educational activities to raise awareness among youth of the significance of holy sites. In the field project in Nigeria, the main focus will also be on education in order to enhance the protection of holy sites.

UN Resolution

The Working Group of the Holy Sites project is continuing the effort to advance a UN resolution based on the Universal Code. We are trying to establish a core group of countries that can support the process but we are still waiting for one country to take the lead. In 2015 we intend to intensify our efforts to this end.

The Code presented in Brussels

In November 2014, the Code was presented at a consultation in Brussels for diplomatic missions, EU officials and NGOs in order to create awareness of the work with the Code. The Working Group also held a number of bilateral meetings with diplomatic missions and relevant officials in the European External Action Service and the EU Commision.

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