Safeguarding human rights in relation to religion and belief, and protecting religious communities from violence
Strasbourg, 24.04.2013 – Concerned about increasing physical and psychological violence against religious communities throughout the world, the Assembly today called on member States to take account of the situation of these communities in their bilateral political dialogue and to promote in their foreign relations “a policy which takes into consideration the question of the full respect for the fundamental rights of religious minorities”.
In this context, the resolution adopted on the basis of the report by Luca Volontè (Italy, EPP/CD) says that member States should “ensure that a democracy clause, incorporating religious freedom, is included in agreements between them and third countries”.
The Assembly also urges all States in which violence has occurred against communities and individuals defined by their religion or belief firmly to condemn attacks, the use of violence in general and all forms of discrimination and intolerance based on religion and beliefs.
It also recommends that States “accommodate religious beliefs in the public sphere by guaranteeing freedom of thought in relation to health care, education and the civil service, provided that the rights of others to be free from discrimination are respected and that the access to lawful services is guaranteed”. The Assembly also emphasised that freedom of expression should not be restricted to meet the sensitivities of any group in a democratic society.