30 civil society and religious leaders and 10 organizations have joined EIFRF in a supportive letter regarding Motion for a Resolution 13333 at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The letter has been sent to every member of the Committee on equality and non-discrimination. Here are the text of the letter and the signatories.
Members of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination
of the Council of Europe
Palais de l’Europe
Europe, the 20th of February 2014
Dear members of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
We, members of civil society, being aware of the Motion for a Resolution Doc. 13333, “The protection of the rights of parents and children belonging to religious minorities”, and being aware that this resolution has been sent to your Committee by the Bureau for “possible follow-up”, would like to express our strong support to this resolution.
Indeed, we think that the appointment of a rapporteur to examine this very important question in the 47 countries of the Council is something that should be done.
Freedom of religion or belief is one of the most fundamental rights of human beings, and in some countries of Europe this right is regularly challenged, minimized or infringed upon without valid justification.
When religious freedom is threatened it is almost always the rights of the minorities that are first to be denied or curtailed. There are many examples of this throughout the Council of Europe’s Member States and it is important that these be taken into account in order that we do not become complacent and we take action to protect those minorities in question. Particular attention should be given to the rights of minorities especially where it concerns the right to educate one’s children in conformity with one’s own religion or belief, this in itself being the subject of European Court of Human Rights decisions.
We are appreciative and supportive of the work of the Council of Europe in protecting and promoting human rights throughout Europe and we believe that you will take this matter seriously. Nevertheless, we wished to express our support for appointing a rapporteur for this motion.