Question for written answer E-001165/2015
to the Commission
Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)
Subject: Religious liberty
According to the Pew Research Center, over 75 % of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions. Could the Commission please describe its strategy for promoting religious liberty around the world?
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini
on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is well aware of the work of the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life.
Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, constitutes one of the essential foundations of the EU, enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights.
In June 2013, the Council adopted “EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief” (FoRB). These guidelines recall what the international standards on FoRB are, provide practical guidance to staff on how to seek to prevent violations of FoRB, to analyse cases and to react effectively to violations worldwide.
In multilateral fora, the EU has actively engaged on FoRB over the last years, presenting resolutions on the issue both at the Human Rights Council and at the UN General Assembly. The EU supports the action of the UN Special rapporteur on FoRB who provides a significant contribution to advancing the FoRB agenda worldwide. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Commission finances civil society projects promoting FoRB. In 2013, a global call for proposal was launched with an allocation of EUR 5 million for projects combating discrimination based on religion or belief. Under this call, initiatives contributing to dialogue and addressing extremism, amongst others, were recognised as eligible project activities.
Further, the Commission remains engaged in a regular dialogue with religious communities and is committed to ensure the implementation of secondary legislation prohibiting discrimination based on religion in employment and combating hatred against persons because of their religion.