European Parliament misses out on an opportunity to speak out for freedom of religion

Today, the EP committees on Foreign Affairs (AFET), Human Rights (DROI) and Development (DEVE) voted on a shortlist of three nominees out of the remaining seven candidates for the Sakharov prize 2014. The committees chose EuroMaidan, Denis Mukwege and Leyla Yunus. The European Conservatives and Reformist Group (ECR) nominated Patriarch Louis R. Sako and professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali (posthumous) but unfortunately they did not get enough votes. Patriarch Sako is currently Chaldean church leader for all of Iraq, including the IS occupied city of Mosul. Professor Al ‘Asali is a Muslim who spoke out against the persectution of minorities in Mosul. Tragically, he had to pay for  this with his own life.

ECPM MEP’s Bas Belder (member of the committee of Foreign Affairs) and Peter van Dalen (chair working group on Religious Freedom) are disappointed that none of the ECR nominees made it on the shortlist of three.

In the view of ECPM, the European Parliament has missed out on an excellent opportunity to speak out against the persecution of minorities because of their religion. Although we certainly do not question the nomination of the three candidates on the shortlist, it is a sign that freedom of religion is still something that is not prominent enough on the agenda of the European Parliament.

The winning candidate for the Sakharov prize will be announced on 26 November 2014 in Strasbourg.

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