On 3 May the European Parliament passed an important resolution condemning the persecution of minorities on the grounds of belief or religion, stressing that freedom to believe or not believe are human rights protected under international law. It:
- discusses persecution of religious & non-religious minorities (noting that secular, humanist & civil society organisations are facing growing persecution in a number of countries) & on the basis of gender or sexual orientation;
- reports that freedom of religion or belief is violated in a considerable number of countries, with eg killings; mental & physical abuse & hate speech; mass incarceration; arbitrary arrest; ‘disappearances’; forced conversions; early & forced marriages; restricted access to education & health services; denial of sexual & reproductive rights; criminalisation of abortion; exclusion; destruction of places of worship & cultural heritage; and discriminatory treatment, including on access to citizenship, elected office & employment;
- says that in more than 70 countries, authorities seek to punish blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, defamation of or insults against religions, & conversion, sometimes via the death sentence; and
- calls for EU action to strengthen legal & institutional protection for the human rights of members of belief & religious minorities & of any vulnerable groups, including women & girls, those of different ethnicities or castes, the elderly & disabled, migrants, refugees & the internally displaced, & LGBTIQ people.
The full text of the (lengthy) resolution is at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2022-0137_EN.pdf