Monday 6. December 2021

Adoption par le Parlement européen du Rapport sur « les Femmes et le fondamentalisme »

Rapport du Parlement européen sur les Femmes et le Fondamentalisme

Statement by the COMECE Secretariat - 13 March 2002 Disponible uniquement en anglais

The Secretariat of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) recognises that the treatment of women under fundamentalist systems that abuse their dignity and rights is a serious and important subject. However, the report drafted by María Izquierdo Rojo MEP and adopted by the European Parliament today does not address the subject with the precision, respect and responsibility it deserves. We welcome the fact that Members of the European Parliament agreed to delete some of the most extreme elements of the report. However, the fact that the final report was passed by just 2 votes (242 for, 240 against) demonstrates that many MEPs share our concern that the report in its final form is still seriously flawed. Every belief system is susceptible to exploitation by fundamentalists and extremists. However, the report by Mrs Izquierdo Rojo focuses almost exclusively on religious fundamentalism. It neglects other forms of fundamentalism that are harmful to women and other groups in society. Despite the fact that Churches and religious communities have promoted norms and values protecting human dignity, this report implies that there is a conflict between religion and fundamental rights and freedoms. It fails to differentiate between religious fundamentalism and the normal practice of religion in both the public and private spheres. It does not seem to recognise the possibility that an individual can couple deeply religious behaviour with a fundamental respect for human rights and women's rights in particular. Fundamentalism is a serious subject which must be approached with sensitivity and a willingness to understand other cultural traditions. The European Parliament will not help those women who suffer under fundamentalist systems by simply condemning religion and imposing secularisation in its place, as this report seems to advocate. Whilst the independence of the state from any one religion is essential in order to guarantee pluralism and religious freedom itself, it is important to recall Declaration 11 annexed to the Amsterdam treaty, which states that the European Union respects the status of churches and religious communities in each Member State. The adoption of this report is especially regrettable at a time when the sense of alienation and lack of understanding among European citizens about the EU and its institutions is a serious cause for concern, and when intercultural and inter-religious dialogue is of such great value.

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