BY CARLA DE YCAZA
Religion and faith have always played an important role in my life, shaping my views of the world and informing my career path in human rights and peacemaking.
Attending religious education as a child and young adult exposed me to the views and teachings of the Church. There, I learned the importance of loving your neighbour as yourself and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The emphasis on loving all of God’s creatures and respecting humanity significantly shaped my view of the world. Little did I know, the solid foundation of peace and justice in Catholic social teaching would contribute so much to my future career and passion for human rights and peacemaking.
As a child, I wanted to be a writer and was always curious about history, specifically World War II and the Holocaust. How could such atrocities occur? Where was the humanity and respect for human dignity?
As a teenager and young adult, I volunteered with various social justice projects in my neighbourhood, which stemmed primarily from involvement in my local church. In high school, I joined Amnesty International, a global human rights organisation.
Based on my interest in social justice, I established a chapter of Pax Christi, a Catholic peace organisation, on campus. Through Catholic social teaching, I learned about the dignity of the human person, the emphasis on community participation, and the importance of respect for all God’s creatures, as well as the role of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Role of Religion in Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Peacemaking (Busted Halo)