Friday, December 21, 2012

The Call for Freedom of Religion in Conflict-Prone Countries

Photo: CSW
On December 10, 2012 (Human Rights Day), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) participated in a panel discussion regarding the importance of increasing global attention on the right to freedom of religion or belief, and how the international community can translate this into action to protect and promote this universal human right.

Sofia Lemmetyinen, Senior EU Advocate for CSW, joined the panel which included foreign ministers and the EU's Special Representative on Human Rights. They discussed how the situation in conflict-prone countries can be addressed through the promotion of freedom of religion or belief. (Prior to this, the UK and Canadian governments jointly hosted a conference on combating intolerance and promoting freedom of religion for all.)

CSW continues to highlight threats to this right, including the situation of religious minorities in many countries around the world. In Egypt, a president elected as an alternative to a member of the former regime is attempting to force a draft constitution that limits the rights of religious minorities and women. In northern and central Nigeria, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram and its offshoots are mounting a deadly campaign aimed at eradicating Christianity, utilizing tactics that could amount to war crimes. In Burma, Rohingyas in Rakhine State has been subjected to a systematic campaign of persecution and ethnic cleansing. In Pakistan, the frequency of extremist violence against religious minorities has reached alarming levels.

The fact that there is heightened concern being expressed on a unified global platform over these alarming reports of religious persecution, and that measures are being presented to proactively deal with the issue, is most encouraging for Christians all around the world. Pray that God will grant these political leaders wisdom, strength and divine strategies as they endeavour to 'stand in the gap' on behalf of those who are suffering severely because of their faith. As a result, may the victims of persecution experience God's mighty deliverance, vindication and peace in their lives and communities.

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