May 10th 2021
Cătălin Raiu welcomes the appoitment of the EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion of Belief
Cătălin Raiu, president of FoRB Romania and member of panel of experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief at ODIHR/OSCE, welcomes the appointment of Mr. Christos Stylianides as the EU Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The European establishment will always be indebted to Dr. Jan Figel, the first Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief (2016-2019) for his continuous effort, courage and wisdom to raise awareness within government officials of European Union members states and beyond to promote FoRB democratic agenda.
Following an almost two years gap since the end of term of Mr. Jan Figel, the appointment of Mr. Christos Stylianides comes at a moment of great menace as FoRB is in decline worldwide: Christophobia, Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise, the level of religious persecution at the highest concern, religious monorities face discrimination and so on.
In this pandemic context, attacks on people of all faiths has intensified worldwide. Many faith groups such as Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Rohingya or Uyghur Muslims have been officially identified as scapegoats and blamed for the spread of the virus. Moreover, religion-driven persecution is contributing to the migration crisis and related security challenges which threaten not only the very borders of the EU, but also our European common values.
The mandate of the EU Special Envoy is based on the 2013 EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief and the EU international leadership in response to protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief worldwide together with the US and the UK.
Hopefully, Mr. Stylianides will boost the expansion of the EU national special envoys network to all EU member states for a more European common approach towards the promotion of FoRB. Addressing the worsening situation of religious freedom worldwide it is a global task in which the European Union can deliver an unifed massage only by adhering more steadily at its core values and democratic standards and by a unified and coherent network of national Special Envoys for the Promotion of FoRB.
May this be a step towards more solidarity and democracy within the European framework of Freedom of Religion or Belief.