In a hearing on freedom of religion or belief, Human Rights MEPs focused on the persecution of various religious minorities & were informed about the “rising tide of intolerance” worldwide.


European Parliament News (22.11.2017) – – The European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) today held a hearing on “Freedom of Religion or Belief: the situation of persecuted minorities, notably Christians”, chaired by DROI Chair MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT). The hearing with several experts from different parts of the world focussed on the persecution of various religious minorities, notably Christians, Shias and Rohingya.

A “rising tide of intolerance” in the world was deplored and confirmed by statistics according to which 70% of the global population suffer from restrictions on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), with a negative tendency for the future.

“Freedom of religion or belief is a litmus test for all human rights”, said Ján Figeľ, EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, to MEPs.

Speakers stressed that Christians at present suffer a degree of persecution unparalleled in history, especially in the Middle East, but also in China, India, North Korea and Russia.

The plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, culminating at present in a systematic campaign seemingly aimed at exterminating them, was also discussed, including the historical background of the conflict.

Furthermore, the hearing focussed on the massive discrimination against Shias in Bahrain, where Shia Muslims form the majority of the population, but had to witness the destruction of dozens of Shia mosques, just one example of the many harassments they face.

Finally the question was raised whether secular societies need better “religious literacy”, ie a greater understanding of religious issues.

MEPs emphasised the need for enhanced EU action for FoRB.

You can rewatch the hearing through this link.


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