Interreligious Dialogue: Conference on Religion and EU External Action

EU guidelines on freedom of religion or belief (FORB). What’s next?
26.04.2017 - 16:30
- 26.04.2017 - 19:00
Last Updated: 10.04.2018 - 17:07
ASP 3E2, European Parliament, Brussels
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Welcome & Introduction
György HÖLVÉNYI, Co-Chair of the EPP Group's Interreligious Dialogue & Intercultural Activities Service
Father Olivier Poquillon O.P., General Secretary of COMECE
International religious freedom: new challenges
Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
The implementation of the EU guidelines on FORB
Mercedes García Pérez, Head of the Human Rights Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS)
FORB in third countries and the role of the EU
Ján Figel’, Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion of belief outside the EU
From EU guidelines to EU toolkit on FORB: some proposals
José Luis Bazán, Legal Advisor, COMECE Secretariat
The role of the European Parliament in the promotion of FORB
Mairead McGUINNESS, First Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for Article 17
Religious diversity and freedom of religion in Iraq
Stephen Rasche, Legal counsel to the Archdiocese of Erbil and newly-nominated spokesperson for the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee
Q & A Session
Closing remarks
Jan OLBRYCHT, Co-Chair of the EPP Group's Interreligious Dialogue & Intercultural Activities Service
Father Olivier Poquillon O.P., General Secretary of COMECE
Official Conclusions

"Within the shortest possible time, the security of Christians must be ensured in the North Iraqi territories, which have been liberated from the terrorist organisation, the so-called Islamic State”, said György Hölvényi MEP, Co-chair of the EPP Group Working Group on Intercultural Relations and Interreligious Dialogue.

Hölvényi said it was outrageous that EU diplomacy continues to impose respect for religious freedom in the partner countries as the sole criterion for economic and political cooperation, while millions, including Christians, are losing their lives.

Olivier Poquillon, Secretary-General of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), emphasised that the free exercise of religion and the public confession of faith are fundamental human rights. Thus, if there is a limitation on freedom of religion, fundamental human rights are violated, which must be uniformly committed to the international community.

Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom, Mairead McGuinness MEP, Ján Figel, Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion outside the EU, and several more leading experts in aid organisations expressed their thoughts during the joint event between the EPP Group and COMECE.


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Press Contacts

Cliona Connolly
Press Relations Legal and Home Affairs Working Group, Ireland; Communications Strategy
Phone: +32 475 957 874
Gábor Török
Intercultural and Religious Activities; Arab Peninsula; Iraq