On June the 30th, our MEP Peter van Dalen presented the Annual Report on the State of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the World 2015 together with his co-chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief is a group of like-minded MEPs dedicated to promote and protect the freedom of religion or belief in the external actions of the European Union. This freedom is a universal human right which is enshrined in Article 18 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Their critical annual report of 2015 finds that the freedom of religion or belief has continued to be severly restricted around the world (in 53 countries). As the report states, "it has become evident to the Intergroup that there is a discrepancy between the official commitment spoken and actual delivery made by the EU's institutions." Part of the report is therefore reviewing the state of play concerning FoRB in EU foreign policy and proposing practical recommendations for addressing this concerning inconsistency.
Co-chair of the Intergroup on FoRB Peter van Dalen: "Our beliefs are at the core of our human dignity - tragically, however, today not everyone enjoys the freedom to hold and manifest their beliefs. We have witnessed the near extinction of Christians in Iraq and Syria; a 150% rise in violent faith-related incidents in India since 2014; and in Pakistan th einjustice of Asia Bibi's death sentence for blasphemy continues. In this report we outline practical recommendations for how the EU can act to help find solutions to cases like these. Freedom of religion or belief must be higher on the EU's agenda."
On July the 5th, MEP Peter van Dalen was able to present this report to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders. Both statesmen were in Strasbourg for the end of the Dutch presidency of the European Union.
Link to the official report: Annual Report on the State of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the World 2015