De EVP-fractie, waar de ChristenUnie ook toebehoort, vindt dat er opnieuw een speciale gezant godsdienstvrijheid van de EU benoemd moet worden. Deze oproep heb ik al verschillende keren gedaan, maar nu heeft onze Europese fractie in het Europees Parlement mede op mijn verzoek hier ook een brief over geschreven naar de voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, Ursula von der Leyen:
Dear President Ursula von der Leyen,
In 2016, the European Union proudly established the position of Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union. Our esteemed colleague, Ján Figeľ served in the position as the first Special Envoy following his appointment by the then President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker.
Such an appointment, fully supported by the EPP Group was a clear and strong signal that Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right, which is part of the foundation of the European Union. The persistent discrimination, persecution or even mass killings of religious and ethnic minorities makes protecting and promoting this freedom inside and outside the EU all the more essential, and probably even more pressing today. These threats to religious freedom often represent an existential danger for religious communities in several regions of the world. The international media is consistently bringing to light grave violations to this fundamental right, whether it happens to Christians, Muslims, Jews, Yazidis and other religious communities in the Middle East, Africa or some parts of Asia.
Regrettably, to date, this position has not been renewed. We trust that this is only due to time constraints. We would like therefore to urge you to consider nominating a new Special Envoy without undue delay and reinforcing its institutional mandate and capacity to help Europe sharpen its focus on the protection of religious minorities and ensure that this important issue gets the attention it deserves. Failing do so would be a major mistake and a missed opportunity in the current global context.
We are confident that you are similarly convinced that it is crucial to send a clear message, especially for religious communities discriminated or persecuted, that the EU is truly committed to protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief, and that it is our collective duty to secure a measurable improvement for those suffering for what they believe.
Jan OLBRYCHT, Vice-Chair of the EPP Group
Manfred WEBER, Chairman of the EPP Group