Religion, Business, and Human Rights

An event in the European Parliament

On 6 September 2017, the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID) organised a well-attended hearing in the European Parliament focusing on the relation between religion, religious freedom and the corporate world. The diverse panelists made for a lively debate.The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) is one of the founding members of the EPRID. All members of the platform are convinced that in all their diversity they stand stronger together in defending and promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The Platform organised a hearing in the European Parliament hosted by MEP Ramon Tremosa I Balcells. Dr Brian J. Grim, President of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation was the main speaker. The other panellists were Dr Ján Figel’, the EU Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, Merete Bilde from the European External Action Service, Amarjit Singh from Ernst & Young, and Michael Wakelin of the University of Cambridge. It was encouraging to see the interest of the corporate world in religious literacy and religious freedom, not only for their employees at home but also for their offices elsewhere in the world. This creates opportunities for government representatives to team up with businesses in promoting and defending religious freedom.

The combination of a human rights issue with international trade appealed to a good number of people and the feedback was really encouraging. Thus, the event created new opportunities for EPRID and the EEA as one of its members, to promote Freedom of Religion or Belief both within and beyond the EU borders.

Foto © European Union 2017

quote from the event

“Freedom of Religion or Belief is close to the core of every human being, so that some have argued that religion should be a private matter. So what has the business world to do with this human right? More than you might think!

Every day, businesses around the world bring together people from different backgrounds and religions to accomplish a shared purpose – producing a product or service for others. At the same time, societies are becoming more religiously diverse. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 include several references to diversity and inclusion, and it is widely accepted that diversity will increasingly impact employees and markets. Facilitating this diversity is one component of a company’s overall strategy to value their employees and increase their loyalty for the benefit of customers and shareholders.”

Are you interested in the topic of  Freedom of Religion or Belief?

Read the article Freedom of religion or belief for all (Christians)?  or contact the EEA Brussels representative, Arie de Pater

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