European Commission Urged to “Renew Religious Freedom Envoy as Soon as Possible”

Facade of the European Parliament building, Brussels, Belgium. / Guillaume Périgois, Unsplash CC0.

Forty-nine Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have written a letter to the President and Vice President of the European Commission, urging them to “renew the position of of the Special Envoy for the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) outside the European Union as soon as possible.”

Evangelical Focus newsletter (https://evangelicalfocus.com) reports the position has been vacant since over one year, when the term of Jan Figel’ finished. After the pressure of many groups and individuals, last July the European Union (EU) announced that they would renew the mandate, but without giving potential names nor a date.

The newsletter says the MEPs recall in the letter that “the Pew Research Center’s study on global restrictions on religion found that in 2017, 83 countries experienced high or very high levels of restrictions” and “the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh.’”

Furthermore, “persecution based on religion and belief is contributing to the migration crisis and related security challenges which threaten the EU,” they add.

“Promoting freedom of religion and belief, therefore, is not only in line with the values which guide EU external action, it is also essential in strengthening our role in addressing global challenges,” the letter underlines.

The newsletter stated that according to the signatories, “the appointment of a Special Envoy holding a permanent mandate, with a multi-year term, full-time staff, and increased funding would send out the message that the EU is committed to protecting everywhere the victims of violence and persecution because of their religion or belief.”

“We recommend that the Special Envoy’s mandate is strengthened while remaining focused specifically on protecting freedom of religion or belief, since the targeted attacks on this freedom in recent years have proven the necessity of both a more targeted and urgent response,” they point out.

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SOURCE: Assist News

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