While many countries uphold, respect, and protect religious freedom, regrettably, in others Governments do not provide sufficient protection for this basic right. State authorities stand by while members of different social groups attack their fellow citizens out of religious hatred. The challenge is to address the root causes that lead to restrictions on religious freedom. These causes include failure to punish violations of religious freedom and an uneven enforcement of laws; introduction of laws restricting religious freedom; societal intolerance, including anti-Semitism and lack of respect for religious diversity; and perceptions that national security and stability are best protected by placing restrictions on and abusing religious freedom.
This seminar will review the situation with regards common themes regarding the status of religious freedom in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries, and identify where these trends cut across national and regional boundaries. The seminar will also highlight instances where governments are restricting their citizens’ ability to practice their religion and identify areas that merit policy attention for the future to secure basic freedoms of choice to practice religion in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries.
This issue is particularly important given the pressures being brought to bear in signing association agreements with the Eastern Neighbourhood countries at the Vilnius summit in November, and the need to ensure that protections are in place to preserve core EU values and beliefs in the road map ahead for implementation of these agreements.
Venue: European Parliament, (Room ASP A5G375).
Date: 18th September
Time: 15.00 to 17.00 followed by a reception
1) Opening remarks by the hosting MEP, Jelko Kacin MEP
2) Comments by James Wilson, Directorof the EUUBC concerning the context in the run
up to the Vilnius summit.
3) An overview of international standards on FoRB with specific examples of violations in the
Eastern Bloc, by Willy Fautre Director of the HRWF
4) Elizabeta Kitanovic will address the issue of Christians of various denominations in Eastern Europe.
5) Svitlana Kutsenko, member of Embassy of God Protestant Church in Kyiv
6) Nuno Wahnon Martins, Director of EU Affairs B’nai B’rith International, speaking about the Jewish Faith in Eastern Europe.
7) Daniel Attar, mayor of Gilboa municipality, Israel
8) Leon Litinetsky, former Member of the Knesset, Israel
9) Rostyslav Ishchenko, Director of the Systematic Analysis
and Forecasting Centre
10) Alexander Golub, Member of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine
The seminar will be followed by a cocktail reception from 17.00 - 18.00