- ADF International lawyer speaks on persecution in South Asia at German Bundestag
- Christians most vulnerable religious group in the world
BERLIN (5 November 2019) – Today, Tehmina Arora, Director of Advocacy, Asia for ADF International, spoke to the Stephen’s Circle, a group of parliamentarians inside the CDU/CSU-group at the German Bundestag, about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in South Asia. The Stephanuskreis is an interreligious panel of 80 members of parliament, engaging against the persecution of Christians and – more generally – for freedom of religion and belief. An expert on the topic, Arora encouraged Germany and Europe not to turn a blind eye to the suffering of minorities in the region.
“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. In many parts of South Asia we see a growing threat to religious freedom despite legal safeguards that exist in many countries’ constitutions. In countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, or India extreme social hostility like mob violence against minorities is encouraged by authorities failing to prosecute the offenders. The international community and especially powerful countries like Germany could play a decisive role in protecting minorities by making religious freedom a diplomatic priority,” said Arora.
Heribert Hirte, MdB reminded the audience of the important role of parliamentarians to advocate for human rights and religious freedom in particular, “As political representatives we are called to protect and promote fundamental freedoms across the globe. Ms. Arora reminded us today that Germany can make a big difference on the international stage by ensuring that human rights are respected in every country and governments live up to their commitments,” he said after the presentation.
Persecution globally on the rise
Recent reports by various national governments highlight the intensity of global persecution. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, there were incidents of harassment of Christians in more than two-thirds of all countries. A report commissioned by the British Foreign Office that was published in July outlines the persecution of Christians all over the world. It concludes that they are the most persecuted religious group in the world and reveals an increase in the phenomenon.
Similarly, the US Department of State recently hosted the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. The conference highlighted the stories of those who have faced persecution. Advocates and government officials discussed goals and strategies to better protect religious minorities and those persecuted for their religion.
Call for international action
Earlier this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution creating the “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” which will be commemorated on 22 August each year. It is part of an increasing call for international action to counter religious persecution.
“We increasingly see Christians and other religious minorities face persecution and denial of their fundamental rights. All people have the right to freely choose and live out their faith. We urge all governments to uphold this right and do more to protect religious minorities and promote religious freedom,” said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International.