- EU forum celebrates 70th anniversary of human rights declaration
- NGOs urge EU to better protect religious freedom around the world
BRUSSELS (21 November 2018) – From 20 to 22 November 2018 the 20th EU-NGO Forum on Human Rights is taking place in Brussels, titled “Defending Universality: Making Human Rights a Reality.” NGOs from all over Europe gather as part of the EU’s Human Rights Week commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
ADF International, a legal organization protecting and promoting fundamental freedoms worldwide, was invited to participate in the event: “Nobody should be persecuted because of their religion or belief,” said Adina Portaru, Legal Counsel for ADF International and an expert on human rights law.
“The European Union should not stop at celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also commit to its duty to protect fundamental rights. Today, countless individuals suffer from the denial of their rights, especially when it comes to freedom of religion.”
Asia Bibi case calls EU’s commitment to human rights into question
The recent struggles of Asia Bibi highlight the improvements which can be made to the EU’s commitment to protecting religious freedom and human rights. Bibi is a Pakistani woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy before recently being acquitted. Parliamentarians from 22 of the 28 EU Members States signed an open letter asking for Asia Bibi’s safe exit from Pakistan. So far, over 230 parliamentarians have signed. Nevertheless, she has not yet been granted asylum by any EU Member State and is unable to leave Pakistan safely.
“Anti-conversion and blasphemy laws are restricting the right to religious freedom. Research shows that Christians experience harassment in two-thirds of all countries. We should not accept this. We urge the European Union and all governments to reaffirm the inherent dignity of every human being and to promote and protect the fundamental freedoms of every person without exception. As one pressing example, it is alarming that Asia Bibi has not yet been allowed to leave Pakistan or granted asylum, despite her life being in danger. The EU should use its considerable influence to protect her fundamental human rights,” said Adina Portaru.
The EU-NGO Forum seeks to increase the impact of the EU’s external action on fundamental freedoms in a global context. Participants will critically assess the EU’s efforts in promoting human rights.