2012april9

On Friday 30 March 2011 was organized at the European commission a seminar on the topic «Religious Freedom: a fundamental right in a radically changing world». Co-organizers were the Church and Society Commission (C.S.C.), the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the Bureau of European Policy Advisers of the European Commission (BEPA).

Specialist on human rights and religious freedom on behalf the co-organising committees as well as number of representatives’ Churches and organisations that are in relation with the topic were present. The Church of Cyprus was represented by His Grace Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis.

During the three sessions they were examined:

a) The Religious Freedom as it is been set in the framework of the Lisbon Treaty and especially article 17§3 which foresees an open transparent and regular dialogue with the European Institutions and the Churches.
b) The violations of religious freedom or faith of the religious minorities concerning countries outside the European Union
c)The challenges and the violations of the religious freedom concerning countries within the European Union.

The representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) expressed their willingness for intensifying the surveillance of the violation of religious rights throughout a systematic and coordinated strategy of the European Union. According with the countries that are in an integration mode with the European Union, the European commission will have to examine in detail the respect of the fundamental right and of religious freedom or belief as well as the implementation of them in a democratic state. Before the integration of a new country into European Union it must implement at the highest level the fundamental rights of religious freedom or belief.

The churches asked from the Agency of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to make a research on the base of religious freedom or belief within and without the European Union as well as to the countries that are to join the European Union. For succeeding this aim the European Union should encourage the state members to collect all data on an annual base and to submit them to the Agency of Fundamental Rights.

In an intervention that the representative of the Church of Cyprus made, he mentioned to the concurrence violations of religious rights that Turkey and the occupying regime make to the north part of Cyprus. He mentioned also the visit of the special reporter of the United Nations for Human Rights after an invitation from the Republic of Cyprus as well as to the annual report of the American Committee on International Religious Freedom

In honouring the participants of the seminar, our representation guested a reception during the evening of Thursday 29 March 2011.

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