Violence against Christians in the World: The EU should promote determined and efficient diplomatic action
The COMECE Secretariat welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of a Resolution condemning recent attacks on Christian communities in Egypt and Malaysia. The killing on 6 January 2010 of six Coptic Christians and a policeman in Egypt, as well as attacks against churches and places of worship in Malaysia since January this year represent a major infringement of Human Rights. The European Union should support religious minorities - including Christian communities - who are today being persecuted around the world : 75% to 85% of all the religious persecution in the world is directed towards people of Christian faith, and each year 170,000 Christian people lose their life because of their faith, while the total number of faithful who are brutally persecuted amounts to 200 million.
This Resolution by the European Parliament echoes a resolution adopted by the Council of Ministers of the EU on 16 November 2009, which reaffirmed "the strong commitment of the European Union to the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief" and "its intention to continue to give priority to the issues as part of the European Union's human rights policy" both in its bilateral relations and at the multilateral level.
On the basis of these two firm statements by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, COMECE calls upon the EU High Representative for External Relations, Baroness Catherine Ashton, to translate this priority into action to be taken up by the new European External Action Service which is now her responsibility and which is now in the process of being set up.
With the explicit intention of assisting EU decision makers to implement specific measures to promote freedom of religion in the external relations of the EU, the Bishop members of COMECE set up an expert group tasked with the drafting of a Memorandum on the promotion of freedom of religion in the world. The text reports on violations of this fundamental right - and indeed of persecutions - in this field worldwide and puts forward a series of recommendations to the European institutions. Once adopted by the COMECE Bishops on the occasion of their next plenary Assembly (14-16 April 2010), the Memorandum will be presented to EU decision makers.
 Figures mentioned by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) - Source: www.fides.org.
 Council Conclusions on Religion and Belief, 2973rd General Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 16 November 2009