Today a roundtable discussion took place in the European Parliament on “Central Asia: Freedom of religion or belief. Persecution of Christians”. It was hosted by the 1st Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia, Dr. Laima Andrikiene MEP. Ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in this exchange of views, as well as Mr. Toivo Klaar, Head of the Central Asia Division of the European External Action Service. NGO Open Doors and Members of the European Parliament focused on various aspects of the problem.
MEP Andrikiene stressed that “from now on EU-Central Asian countries human rights dialogues have to address in depth the situation of Christians with clear outcomes and tangible progress. In addition to this, more attention must be paid to the situation of converts.”
She also pointed out the importance of the cooperation between the EU and Central Asian countries in promotion of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between different religious communities.
“Central Asia government institutions must be responsible for defending their citizen’s rights and freedoms and Christians should be protected from persecution and faith-related imprisonment,” said L. Andrikiene MEP.