Civil society and religious leaders support a motion for religious freedom at Council of Europe

25 February 2014, 12:52 AM

30 civil society and religious leaders and 10 organizations have joined URI CC 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

Parliamentary Assembly
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.
Individuals (in their own names)
 Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini, Secretary of Interfaith Alliance – UK
• Dr Alessandro Amicarelli, attorney at law of the BAR of Italy and LAW Society of England and Wales, Doctor of Research in International Order and Human Rights "SAPIENZA" University of Rome – Italy
• Dr Iftikhar Ayaz, OBE, Consul General of the Tuvalu Islands in UK, member of the UN Working Group for the Rights of Minorities, Chair of the board of trustees of the All Faith Network – UK
• Thierry Bécourt, President CAPLC – France
• Dr Luigi Berzano, full professor of Sociology at the University of Torino, Catholic priest – Italy
• Dr Silvio Calzolari, professor of History of Religions at the ISSR (Higher Institute of Religious Sciences) of Firenze – Italy
• Dr Maria Chiara Giorda, Professor, History of Religions at the University of Torino – Italy
• Dr Juan Ferreiro Gualguera, Professor of Ecclesiastical Law at the State University of Coruna –?Spain
• Gurjit Singh, UNITED SIKH Trustee – UK
• Gursev Singh, Dutch Sikh Council, spokesperson – Netherlands
• Karan Singh, President of the Sikh Foundation of Switzerland – Switzerland
• Rev. Dr Dominique Kounkou, attorney at law, PhD in international public law, Honorary President of the Council of Christian Churches of an African Approach in Europe - France
• Rev. Dr William McComish, Dean Emeritus of St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva, Presbyterian minister, general treasurer of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
• Robin Marsh, Secretary General Universal Peace Federation (UPF) - UK
• Raffaella di Marzio, psychologist of religion, contributing partner to the Brussels based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers – Italy
• HE Irénéo Namboka, Human Right adviser for UN, former HR Officer of UNHCHR – Switzerland
• Jura Nanuk, President of Central-European Religious Freedom Institute – Hungary
• Hans NootPresident of the Gerard Noodt Foundation, member of the board of the ICRLS – Netherlands

• Carmine Onnembo, UPF Board of Directors – Germany

• Dr. Elke Preußer-Frank, Foundation member of the Federal Association of the Woman Federation for World Peace – Germany
• Bashy Quraishy, Secretary General of EMISCO (European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion – Strasbourg) – Denmark
• Andrew S. Reed, former secretary to Chairman (EFD group), EU Parliament – Belgium
• Æthelwine Richards, Orthodox Chaplain, York St. John University – UK
• Eric Roux, Steering Committee of EIFRF – France
• Dr Vjekoslav Saje, Centre for Inter-Religious Dialogue – Bosnia-Herzegovina
• John Tamale, Associate at UNCHR – Switzerland
• Professor Aldo Natale Terrin, Pontifical Institute of Pastoral Liturgy of Padua, Catholic priest –?Italy
• Professor Dr G.P.P. Van Tillo, honorary professor of Sociology of Religion in the University of Amsterdam – Netherlands
• Angelina Vladikova, Chair of BRIDGES - Easter European Forum for Dialogue ­– Bulgaria
• Martin Weightman, Director All Faith Network – UK
• Graeme Wilson, Public Affairs Director, Church of Scientology – UK
BRIDGES  – Easter European Forum for Dialogue –
CAPLC-European Coordination for Freedom of Conscience – Member of ENAR and participant organization of the EU Fundamental Rights Platform –
CERFI – Central-European Religious Freedom Institute –
EIFRF – European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom –
UNIVERSAL PEACE FEDERATION (UPF) – UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations


Cooperation Circles Involved