The changing picture of religious freedom

  • In NEWS
  • March 3, 2016
The changing picture of religious freedom
At the end of February, Christians working on religious freedom in Europe came together again for the European Religious Liberty Forum that EEA and Advocates Europe host together.  It’s the annual opportunity to strengthen relationships and collaboration, to plot latest developments and opportunities and to work out the most strategic responses. This year, we came up with specific recommendations on how to improve religious freedom for refugees and to promote religious freedom understanding among the refugee community.  Wherever possible, the Church needs to provide excellent but short training and work in partnership with the authorities. We also observed how the refugee crisis, fear of Islamic terrorism and inappropriate populist responses is already having an impact. It is essential that we speak up against the undermining human rights, from Hungary to the UK. The Evangelical Alliance of the UK shared about the government’s draft policy to prevent the radicalisation of under 19 year olds. This will involve the compulsory registering and monitoring of everyone (churches, youth groups, camps, student groups included) who teaches for more than 6 hours in any one week.  It was agreed that we need to build up a collaborative strategy to respond to this serious trend across the continent. On a more positive note, new ideas were shared on how to encourage national politicians to become more enthusiastic and effective advocates for religious freedom, both home and abroad. During the pre-meeting specifically for EEA members, Alliances shared good practice on their role to promote religious freedom within their nations. We also looked in detail at protecting conscientious objection and the right to witness in the workplace. Thank you to all the national Alliances, NGOs, individual lawyers and journalists who contributed to the discussions and to all who prayed for the Forum.

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