- ADF International highlights importance of Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief
- Report finds significant restrictions; references persecution of Christians in India
BRUSSELS (4 September 2018)– On 4 September 2018, the European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance presented its annual Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017. The report mentions 34 countries of which 19 significantly restrict the right of people to live in accordance with their faith. It also calls for a strengthening of the mandate of the EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union.
“We cannot accept that people are being killed, tortured, or oppressed, because of their religious convictions or beliefs,” said Adina Portaru, Legal Counsel for ADF International after the presentation of the report at the European Parliament.
“The Annual Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief promotes religious freedom worldwide. This year’s report urges the European Union to use its political and financial power to safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of religion. An important first step would be to strengthen the position of the EU Special Envoy.”
Special focus on anti-conversion laws in Asia
The report launched by the two Chairmen of the Intergroup Peter van Dalen MEP and Dennis de Jong MEP also addresses the rise of anti-conversion laws and urges the EU to “openly condemn” this kind of legislation in India.
ADF International recently launched a white paper on anti-conversion laws and the absence of a strong international reaction to such a restriction on the right to religious freedom. The paper documents the increase of those laws that prevent religious conversion. Government officials and the police, in line with increasingly nationalist politicians and lawmakers, selectively enforce these laws, effectively banning conversion from the majority religion to a minority religion, including Christianity and Islam.
“ADF International and our allies are using our full-time presence at the major international institutions to protect the freedom for all people of faith to live without fear of death, torture, oppression, and persecution. Publications like The Annual Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief and our white paper on anti-conversion laws demonstrate the challenges we face. We will continue to work to hold those responsible for violations to account, and to challenge laws that prevent people from living in accordance with their faith,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International.
Find the report here