Question for written answer E-001161/2015
to the Commission
Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)
Subject: Christian persecution in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries
According to Open Doors, countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are amongst the worst persecutors of Christians. Does the Commission intend to raise the issue of Christian persecution in these countries, with the possibility of revising the 1988 GCC-EU Cooperation Agreement if the situation does not improve?
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini
on behalf of the Commission
The HR/VP is well aware of the issue raised by the Honourable Member.
The EEAS is closely monitoring the situation of individuals belonging to different minorities, including religious ones, in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
As recalled in the EU guidelines on freedom of religion or belief adopted in June 2013, the right of individuals belonging to religious minorities to practice their religion and worship freely, without fear of intimidation, discrimination, violence or attack, has to be upheld.
In this respect, the EU is consistently engaged with the local authorities in an ongoing dialogue on human rights concerns and encourages reform measures. The areas of concern include among others: freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, corporal punishment, death penalty and the reform of the judiciary.
The EU will continue to support efforts that promote minorities’ rights in an inclusive society and safeguard freedom of religion or belief. People should have the right to practice their religion and worship freely, without fear of intimidation, discrimination, violence or attack.
The EU Member States have also been actively engaged in the UN Universal Periodic Review sessions on GCC countries.