ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, May 27   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
State and Religion
Should religious symbols be displayed in buildings of the public administration?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Pressure on Brussels
 

Freedom of religion needs to be key factor in EU partnerships, say MEPs

MEPs ask the EU to clearly promote freedom of belief in its external action. European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion and Belief introduced its first annual report on the state of religion in the world.

AUTHOR Joëlle Philippe BRUSSELS 05 JUNE 2015 11:07 h GMT+1
European Parliament, Brussels Photo: Barros A. (Flickr, CC).

Bad times for freedom of religion, or so shows the first annual report on the state of religion or belief in the world, presented in the European Parliament last Wednesday 3rd of June.



The EP Intergroup on Freedom of Religion and Belief explained they were “concerned” about the situation of Freedom of Belief in the world.



In the final remarks of the report, the Intergroup asks “Peace and freedom? We do not need EU monitoring system to show us, they don’t exist”.



They however have this “dream” of ensuring that the EU, “in its external actions, promotes freedom of religion or belief” as a universal human right, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



The MEPs, from different religious and non-religious backgrounds, want to encourage tolerance and respect for all religions, while insisting on the fact that “religion is a factor you have to take into account” when working in Foreign Policy.



The Intergroup on FoRB has been meeting informally until its establishment in January 2015.



 



“BE MORE CRITICAL WHEN DOING PARTNERSHIPS”



The co-president, Mr. Dennis de Jong, introduced the annual report by presenting some examples of violations and intolerance from the main religions, such as Buddhists in Burma and Sri Lanka, Daesh, Christians’ intolerance and burning churches in Democratic Republic of Congo, Hindus’ intolerance against Muslim Rohingya or even the “increasing secular challenge to religious expression in public”.



The report is divided in two parts, the first being the description of countries in which freedom of religion is violated and the second, a list of recommendations for EU foreign policy agents. “It is worth reconsidering [EU] policy”, said Mr. de Jong adding that EU institutions “should be more critical when doing partnerships: human rights should be taken seriously”.



 



REAL COMPENTECES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE



The question rises, however, on how efficient and influent can a European Parliament report such as this be to the other European institutions that have real competence in EU foreign policy, like the European External Action Service (EEAS). In the room, a representative from an NGO asked why Vietnam did not appear in the report, since there have been prosecutions of Buddhists and the EU is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the South Asian country.



From the EEAS, Mr. Silvio Gonzato, Director of the Human Rights and Democracy, declared that the EEAS was open to start a dialog on the recommendations from the report. He also made some remarks and illustrated briefly the work of the EEAS on Freedom of Religion, such as election surveillance, cooperation at regional level or local workshops.



He stressed the importance to back-up civil society efforts in reconciliation between communities and pointed out that “religious leaders can play a vital role in the counter narrative against fundamentalism”.



Mr. Gonzato explained that bad governance, corruption and failure of the state are a “very fertile ground” for sectarianism and fundamentalism. Encouraging the rule of law and helping these governments develop is an indirect way to prevent violations of freedom of religion. There was, however, some debate over the guidelines for external action on freedom of belief (2013) but Mr. Gonzato said that the “effectiveness of the tools depends also on the partner on the other side”.



 



ACTION NEEDED INSIDE OF EUROPE?



The event was done in collaboration with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) which also does an annual report and categorizes countries according to their freedom of religion or belief. The chair, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, greeted this “unprecedented meeting”, as it was the first time the group and the commission did an event together, and said it represented “a single voice that more must be done for freedom of religion”.



During the time of questions or remarks, some MEPs and other attending the presentation of the report, asked about persecution and oppression in Europe for people of faith. Mr. Peter Van Dalen, co-president of the group, insisted on the focus of freedom of belief outside of the EU. 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - Freedom of religion needs to be key factor in EU partnerships, say MEPs
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What are the cultural roots of the transgender movement? What are the cultural roots of the transgender movement?

Peter Saunders, CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship (UK) summarises>the philosophical framework that made the transgender movement so popular.

 
Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid

Delta David Gier, Conductor and Music Director, on some of the dangers for artists.

 
Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation? Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation?

“The reasons why somebody might have sex with a prostitute are very different from the reasons why somebody might want to have an affair with a member of their congregation”. An analysis by John Stevens, National Director of FIEC (UK).

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.