Friday, 28 June 2013

Churches welcome EU guidelines on religious freedom

Frank Cranmer reports that:

On 24 June the EU Council of Ministers adopted new Guidelines on promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief in EU external action and human rights policy. The guidelines are based on the principles of equality, non-discrimination and universality and are intended to provide practical guidance to officials of the EU and Member States in their relations with third countries and with international and civil society organisations. The guidelines go further than the previous Council conclusions on freedom of religion or belief which were adopted under the Swedish Presidency in 2009 and take into account most of the text adopted by the European Parliament on 13 June; but they are not as detailed as the EP text in relation to monitoring and assessment requirements.

Today, the Church of England issued a press release that the Bishop [of Derby] welcomes EU guidelines on freedom of religion.

Frank Cranmer’s post gives some detail on what is in these guidelines and how they developed from earlier EU documents. He notes that they were also welcomed by the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches and with some reservations also by the Commission of the [Roman Catholic] Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community.

The full text of the guidelines is here: EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief (PDF).

The official report of the meeting summarised this item as follows:

The Council adopted EU guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief. While the EU is not aligned with any specific religion or belief, the guidelines reflect the EU’s determination to promote, in its external human rights policy, freedom of religion or belief as a right to be exercised by everyone everywhere.

At the same time the EU Council of Ministers adopted another set of guidelines: Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons (PDF)

The official report summary reads:

The Council adopted guidelines on the promotion and protection of all human rights of LGBTI persons, on the basis of existing international legal standards in this area. The guidelines are intended to enable the EU to proactively promote the human rights of LGBTI persons, to better understand and combat any structural discrimination they might face and to react to violations of their human rights.

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights reported: EU foreign affairs ministers adopt ground-breaking global LGBTI policy:

Today the EU’s 27 foreign affairs ministers adopted a ground-breaking global policy. The LGBTI Guidelines instruct EU diplomats around the globe to defend the human rights of LGBTI people.

The Council of the European Union, the body that represents the 27 national governments in the EU, had already adopted a non-binding toolkit to promote LGBT people’s human rights in June 2010.

Three years later, foreign affairs ministers have now upgraded the document to these new Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons…

If I find any endorsements of these latter guidelines from religious organisations, I will let you know. So far I can find no mention of them from religious sources.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 June 2013 at 4:00pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
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