Protecting the Freedom of Religion and Beliefs in the Eastern Partnership Countries PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Protecting the Freedom of Religion and Beliefs in the Eastern Partnership CountriesThe seminar took place on 18 September at the European Parliament an was hosted by the EUUBC and Jelko Kacin, MEP.

While many countries uphold, respect, and protect religious freedom, regrettably, in others Governments do not provide sufficient protection for this basic right.

State authorities stand by while members of different social groups attack their fellow citizens out of religious hatred. The challenge is to address the root causes that lead to restrictions on religious freedom. These causes include failure to punish violations of religious freedom and an uneven enforcement of laws; introduction of laws restricting religious freedom; societal intolerance, including anti-Semitism and lack of respect for religious diversity; and perceptions that national security and stability are best protected by placing restrictions on and abusing religious freedom.

This seminar reviewed the situation with regards common themes regarding the status of religious freedom in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries, and identify where these trends cut across national and regional boundaries. The seminar also highlighted instances where governments are restricting their citizens’ ability to practice their religion and identify areas that merit policy attention for the future to secure basic freedoms of choice to practice religion in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries.

This issue is particularly important given the pressures being brought to bear in signing association agreements with the Eastern Neighbourhood countries at the Vilnius summit in November, and the need to ensure that protections are in place to preserve core EU values and beliefs in the road map ahead for implementation of these agreements.