Thursday, May 4, 2017
ECPM wants to ensure the rights of all people, including religious minorities, to have freedom of thought, conscience and religion. On the 27th of April, the report on "The protection of the rights of parents and children belonging to religious minorities" was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
The resolution and recommendation on the protection of the rights of parents and children belonging to religious minorities were both adopted by great majority. The resolution was adopted by 38 votes to 19, and an additional recommendation was adopted by 44 votes to 19. The rapporteur for this report was ECPM member Valeriu Ghiletchi (MP, Moldova).
Supporting the concept of reasonable accommodation and recognizing the growing religious diversity in Europe, the text of the resolution invites the Council of Europe (CoE) Member States to "affirm the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion for all individuals, including the right not to adhere to any religion, and protect the right of all not to be compelled to perform actions that go against their deeply held moral or religious beliefs". It also recalls the right of parents to provide their child with an education in accordance with their own religious and philosophical convictions according to Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The adopted Recommendation to PACE's Council of Ministers (which is the statutory decision-making body of the CoE) calls on the Council to transmit this resolution to the governments of member States and draw up guidelines on how member States should make effective reasonable accommodation of deeply held moral or religious beliefs of individuals, while ensuring respect for the rights of others.
We are glad to see this resolution and recommendation, ensuring the rights of all people – including religious minorities – to have freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This is one of the core values of the European Union and it should be safeguarded.