COMECE urges the EU to better protect and promote Freedom of Religion
Statistics show that more than 70% of the global population suffers from restrictions on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). COMECE urges the EU to intensify its external action in order to promote the fundamental right of freedom of religion and full citizenship for all members of the communities where freedoms of religious minorities are restricted.
The European Parliament analysed the issue of Freedom of Religion or Belief focusing particularly on the situation of persecuted minorities, notably Christians, in a hearing of last November, where Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, highlighted that “freedom of religion or belief is a litmus test for all human rights”.
On November 13th 2017, during the EP plenary session, the EU HR for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, stated that “a long-term strategy approach to protect Christian and other religious groups must focus on addressing those ideologies and changing those state structures that encourage discrimination and violence”.
COMECE welcomes the European Parliament in dealing with religious freedom, deploring the persecution of Christians and religious minorities. COMECE urges the EU to improve its tools to protect and promote freedom of religion in the world, in particular through the full implementation of the EU FoRB Guidelines that were adopted in 2013, and providing sufficient institutional means and framework for the EU Special Envoy on FoRB.
In this line, COMECE also welcomes the European Parliament resolution of 3 October 2017 recognising that Churches and faith-based entities are “frontline and long-standing operational field actors in the provision of development and humanitarian assistance”, and calling “the EU to adopt guidelines on partnerships with churches and faith-based organisations and religious leaders in cooperation for development.”