Feb. 4 Thompson Forum explores rights of religious minorities

Protecting the human rights of religious minorities worldwide will be the focus of the next E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues on Feb. 4.

Felice Gaer, director of the American Jewish Committee's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, will present "Protecting the Human Rights of Religious Minorities Worldwide: International Religious Freedom in U.S. Policy" at 7 p.m. at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The event is co-sponsored by UNL's Harris Center for Judaic Studies.

Gaer will discuss what has been accomplished since the International Religious Freedom Act was adopted in 1998 and what is needed to bolster this vital human rights concern. Implementing the policy has brought both resistance and assistance from traditional diplomats, foreign governments and NGO representatives. It also has prompted the U.S. government to pay more attention to such human rights violations in hot spots around the world.

The Blaustein Institute has worked for more than 40 years to advance human rights worldwide through research and advocacy efforts.

While free to attend, the lecture requires a ticket. To reserve free tickets, call the Lied Center at 402-472-4747 or 800-432-3231. Tickets may also be picked up in person at the Lied Center or ordered by downloading a form from the forum's website, http://enthompson.unl.edu. All tickets are for general admission seating.
Gaer is the chair of the Leo Nevas Task Force on Human Rights of the United Nations Association of the USA; vice chair of the U.N. Committee against Torture (the first American to serve as an independent expert on that treaty monitoring body); and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

She has served more than a decade on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, including three terms as chair.

Gaer is a past recipient of the First Freedom Center's National Religious Freedom Award. She also has written more than 40 articles on international human rights.

Forum lectures will be available live online at http://www.unl.edu as well as on Lincoln TimeWarner Cable Channel 21, UNL campus Channel 8 and UNL's KRNU radio (90.3 FM). Sign language interpreters will be available at each lecture for the deaf and hard of hearing.