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Plight of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar/Burma

15-09-2017

The brutal military crackdown since October 2016 in Myanmar/Burma's Rakhine State has highlighted the tragic situation of Muslim Rohingya, often described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Deprived of citizenship and basic freedoms at home, those who risk their lives to escape can at best hope for a precarious existence abroad. This text updates an earlier 'at a glance note', published in February 2017 - PE 599.257.

The brutal military crackdown since October 2016 in Myanmar/Burma's Rakhine State has highlighted the tragic situation of Muslim Rohingya, often described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Deprived of citizenship and basic freedoms at home, those who risk their lives to escape can at best hope for a precarious existence abroad. This text updates an earlier 'at a glance note', published in February 2017 - PE 599.257.

Workshop: Sectarianism in the Middle East

14-07-2017

Sectarian conflict and polarisation has become a key feature of Middle East politics in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. This workshop looked at some of the key drivers of this, such as the troubled legacy of foreign intervention, state failure, regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, ruling strategies of authoritarian regimes as well as the spread of identity and sect-based political movements. With in-depth analysis of the two key arenas of sectarian conflict in the ...

Sectarian conflict and polarisation has become a key feature of Middle East politics in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. This workshop looked at some of the key drivers of this, such as the troubled legacy of foreign intervention, state failure, regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, ruling strategies of authoritarian regimes as well as the spread of identity and sect-based political movements. With in-depth analysis of the two key arenas of sectarian conflict in the contemporary Middle East, Syria and Iraq, and a paper on the consequences of state collapse, this publication looks also tries to make recommendations how the EU could help reduce sectarian tensions.

Údar seachtarach

Dr Toby MATTHIESEN, St Antony's College, Oxford University, Dr Simon MABON, Lancaster University ; Dr Renad MANSOUR, Chatham House, Dr Raphael LEFÈVRE, Oxford University

Discrimination(s) as emerging from petitions received

28-02-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions (PETI), focuses on several issues stemming from a sample of forty petitions received. Whilst all petitions are related to anti-discrimination law, they are quite heterogeneous in terms of the respondent entity, the grounds of discrimination and the legal sources invoked. Recommendations are made to assist the PETI Committee and the EP ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions (PETI), focuses on several issues stemming from a sample of forty petitions received. Whilst all petitions are related to anti-discrimination law, they are quite heterogeneous in terms of the respondent entity, the grounds of discrimination and the legal sources invoked. Recommendations are made to assist the PETI Committee and the EP in replying to petitions received in this field.

Plight of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar/Burma

06-02-2017

The brutal military crackdown since October 2016 in Myanmar/Burma's Rakhine State has highlighted the tragic situation of Muslim Rohingya, often described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Deprived of citizenship and basic freedoms at home, those who risk their lives to escape can at best hope for a precarious existence abroad.

The brutal military crackdown since October 2016 in Myanmar/Burma's Rakhine State has highlighted the tragic situation of Muslim Rohingya, often described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Deprived of citizenship and basic freedoms at home, those who risk their lives to escape can at best hope for a precarious existence abroad.

Human rights in Indonesia

24-10-2016

The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably thanks to the country's successful democratic transition, but there are still many concerns – for example, violence against religious minorities and repression of Papuan separatism. President Jokowi has pledged to resolve historical human rights abuses, but has made little progress since his election in 2014.

The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably thanks to the country's successful democratic transition, but there are still many concerns – for example, violence against religious minorities and repression of Papuan separatism. President Jokowi has pledged to resolve historical human rights abuses, but has made little progress since his election in 2014.

Jewish communities in the European Union

22-09-2016

Europe’s Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism.

Europe’s Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism.

Religious pluralism in Indonesia: Harmonious traditions face challenges

19-05-2016

A mosaic of cultures, languages and religions, Indonesia shares not only the EU's motto (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity), but also many of its values, such as tolerance, pluralism and, since the 1998 downfall of former dictator Suharto, also democracy. With many other Muslim-majority states torn by conflicts and persecution of religious minorities, Indonesia stands out as an example of a country where different faiths are able to co-exist harmoniously. Despite this globally positive picture ...

A mosaic of cultures, languages and religions, Indonesia shares not only the EU's motto (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity), but also many of its values, such as tolerance, pluralism and, since the 1998 downfall of former dictator Suharto, also democracy. With many other Muslim-majority states torn by conflicts and persecution of religious minorities, Indonesia stands out as an example of a country where different faiths are able to co-exist harmoniously. Despite this globally positive picture, there are some concerns about religious freedoms in the country. It is true that the rights of the largest minorities, such as the Christians and Hindus, are enshrined in primary and secondary legislation. On the other hand, blasphemy laws have been used to repress smaller minorities, and some recently adopted legislation reflects Islamic values. The wave of intercommunal violence which broke out after Suharto's downfall has since subsided, but occasional attacks continue against certain minorities such as Shia and Ahmadi Muslims. While the number of such incidents is very low for a country of Indonesia's size, they point to wider underlying intolerance. Over the years, the Indonesian authorities have not done enough to promote religious pluralism, sometimes showing bias against minorities. New president Joko Widodo made tolerance one of his priorities, and since he took office in 2014 his government has made some encouraging gestures. However, there are as yet no signs of real change on the ground.

The Employment Equality Directive: European Implementation Assessment

05-02-2016

The adoption of the Employment Equality Directive in 2000 extended the protection against discrimination provided under EU law. By explicitly obliging the Member States to prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation, the general principles set out in the Treaties became more effective, and some minimum standards are now common throughout Europe. At the same time, specific exceptions with regard to all or only some of those grounds ...

The adoption of the Employment Equality Directive in 2000 extended the protection against discrimination provided under EU law. By explicitly obliging the Member States to prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation, the general principles set out in the Treaties became more effective, and some minimum standards are now common throughout Europe. At the same time, specific exceptions with regard to all or only some of those grounds permit the continuation of certain measures that were already in place in most countries, which has led to different national practices, especially with regard to age. Additional provisions on horizontal issues such as access to justice and sanctions, dissemination of information and necessary dialogue, left the details to be established by Member States according to their laws and customs. This analysis builds on the available documents and expertise in order to facilitate the debate on the implementation of the Employment Equality Directive to date and on how best to follow it up.

Implementation of the Employment Equality Directive: The principle of non-discrimination on the basis of religion or belief

12-01-2016

The Employment Equality Directive (adopted in 2000) imposed a duty on the EU Member States to provide protection against discrimination on the grounds – among others – of religion or belief in the areas of employment, occupation and vocational training. This study examines the legal issues linked to this protection, including the interpretation of key concepts, and the exceptions provided for in the Directive. Throughout the study, examples of good practice in various Member States have been identified ...

The Employment Equality Directive (adopted in 2000) imposed a duty on the EU Member States to provide protection against discrimination on the grounds – among others – of religion or belief in the areas of employment, occupation and vocational training. This study examines the legal issues linked to this protection, including the interpretation of key concepts, and the exceptions provided for in the Directive. Throughout the study, examples of good practice in various Member States have been identified on which the CJEU and the national courts can draw for guidance when required to decide on issues regarding religion or belief discrimination in employment contexts.

Údar seachtarach

This study has been written by Erica Howard of the School of Law, Middlesex University, at the request of the Ex-Post Impact Assessment Unit of the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, within the Directorate General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) of the General Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Iran-Saudi Arabia relations: Figuring out the next move

11-01-2016

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia – two powerhouses and major rivals of the Muslim world – have always been complicated. The 1979 Revolution in Iran, and the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), have contributed to entrenching their historical antagonisms and left an imprint in the foreign policies of both Iran and Saudi Arabia. Since 2011, Tehran and Riyadh have repeatedly exchanged blows, including through their proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran has also often been accused of interfering in the ...

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia – two powerhouses and major rivals of the Muslim world – have always been complicated. The 1979 Revolution in Iran, and the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), have contributed to entrenching their historical antagonisms and left an imprint in the foreign policies of both Iran and Saudi Arabia. Since 2011, Tehran and Riyadh have repeatedly exchanged blows, including through their proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran has also often been accused of interfering in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Gulf countries with significant Shiite minorities. Iran, on the other hand, has accused Saudi Arabia of promoting anti Shiite policies and practices. Both sides have also resorted to downgrading or suspending diplomatic ties in the past – as was the case of Iran and Saudi Arabia in 1988, and Iran and Bahrain in 2011 and 2015. In that sense, the recent decision by Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf countries to cut or downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran does not represent a radical change in their bilateral relations but is nonetheless worrying given growing sectarian problems in the region. The escalation of the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia – only a few weeks after the two countries sat for the first time at the same table to discuss the conflict in Syria – comes at a particularly sensitive moment. Implementation of the carefully brokered diplomatic undertakings of the past few months – in particular the nuclear deal with Iran and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) on Syria – depend on good relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Therefore, diplomatic efforts to find a means to help de-escalate the conflict and present all sides with a face-saving option will remain the main challenge for the coming months.

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