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Parliamentary questions
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3 April 2019
E-000761/2019(ASW)
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini
Question reference: E-000761/2019

The European External Action Service (EEAS) is aware of the report of Open Doors and of the plight of Christians in many parts of the world.

Freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is under attack across the globe. Acts of violence against persons based on their religion or belief are widespread phenomena that have to be addressed. The implementation of the EU Guidelines on FoRB(1) remains a key priority of EU's external action. The EU publicly condemned acts of grave violence on the grounds of religion or belief (e.g.: persecution of Jehovah Witnesses in Russia or attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt).

During 2018, the EEAS consistently raised concerns for FoRB violations, such as discrimination and violence against religious people including Christians, in the course of political dialogues with third countries.

For instance in more than 20 human rights dialogues with countries of the Middle East and north Africa, South Asia, Central Asia and South East Asia, the EEAS voiced concerns regarding: violence and discrimination against religious groups and atheists; legislation hindering registration of religious groups; criminalization of blasphemy, apostasy and conversion.

The Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU has also engaged through country missions with authorities from around the globe to promote the rights of vulnerable religious groups.

The EEAS liaises regularly with civil society (including Open Doors) to receive accurate information from what is happening in the field. Subsequently, the EEAS regularly raises concerns for individual cases.

The EEAS also works prominently in the multilateral fora, with a strong support for the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on FoRB (in March 2019, the EU leads a resolution in the Human Rights Council calling for the renewal of his mandate).

(1)https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/137585.pdf

Last updated: 4 April 2019Legal notice