Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Ms. Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Turkmen Friendships were invited by Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) and EPP Group at the EU Parliament to the Conference 'In Prison for their Religion or Beliefs'.
Brussels, 26th May 2015
Prof. Alan Murray, Chair of the European Network on Religion & Belief (ENORB)
Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Mrs. Merry Fitzgerald
The Conference was hosted by MEP Laslo TOKES,
the Moderator was his assistant Ms. Zsuzsa FERENCZY.
Mr. Willy FAUTRE, Executive Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers presented the FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF (FoRB) ANNUAL REPORT 2014: 'IN PRISON FOR THEIR RELIGION OR BELIEFS' and the 'FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF & BLASPHEMY PRISONERS LIST 2014'
A report about 20 countries with religion or belief prisoners along with policy recommendations for the European Union specific to each country.
In his speech Mr. Willy FAUTRE gave the Reasons for Imprisonment in these countries and he reminded the participants that FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF (FoRB) is a universal human right guaranteed by Article 18 of the UN International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
In 2013, the European Union adopted the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Human Rights Without Frontiers International was involved in the drafting process along with religious communities and other civil society organisations. The Guidelines are an important reference tool for EU institutions in third countries for identifying FoRB violations and assisting citizens who have been discriminated against on the basis of their religion or beliefs. The Guidelines also set out the actions and measures that the EU can take at multilateral-fora, regional and bi-lateral levels with regard to countries which fail to respect FoRB.
The purpose of this report is to highlight those states which imprison people for practices that are protected by Article 18 of the ICCPR and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The report also makes policy recommendations to the EU and other international institutions which are in a position to put pressure on the relevant countries to better respect and uphold FoRB.
Dr. Mark BARWICK of HRWF made a presentation about the Targeted Groups.
Mr. Alfiaz VAIYA Project Manager of HRWF and Mr. Jean-Bernard BOLVIN of European External Action Service made FoRB recommendations.
Four members of the EU parliament attended the conference.
The presentations were followed by Questions and Answers and by a Cocktail during which the participants had the opportunity to continue exchanging views. Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, ITF EU Representative spoke with Mr. Jean-Bernard BOLVIN, Policy Officer, Human Rights and Multilateral Diplomacy - European External Action Service, with Prof. Alan MURRAY, Chair of the European Network on Religion & Belief (ENORB) and with several other participants belonging to human rights associations.