In the last few years, many Christians have fled their home countries due to religious persecution — many of them from the cradle of Christianity. For some, life in Germany is not much better than the places they fled: the threat posed by radical Muslims towards Christians followed them to Europe and it is spreading through some refugee homes.
The Knights of Columbus urges the United States to join the International Association of Genocide Scholars, 60 UK Parliamentarians, 200+ Members of Congress, Pope Francis, the European Parliament, and many other and recognize the genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria.
Online petition has received over 55,000 signatures since November.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to take up a case that addresses the question of whether states can exhibit hostility to religion by prohibiting churches and church-run organizations from participating in state programs solely because the groups are religious.
According to the 2015 Open Doors World Watch List, the Middle East Remains Most Violent While Africa Sees Largest Increase in Persecution of Christians.
The report provides an overview of data collected on hate crimes, and of responses to hate crimes. The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe submitted data, from which cases from 12 countries will be included in the final report which will be available online on November 16, 2015.
At the OSCE Conference CIO.GAL/54/15 "Enhancing efforts to prevent and combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians, focusing on hate crimes, exclusion, marginalisation and denial of rights" in Vienna on May 18, 2015, Dr. Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory, delivered a keynote address.
Every few years the UN review each of its members with regard to their human rights situation in the so-called Univeral Periodic Review. The Observatory submitted a report on the violations of religious freedom in Austria. Find here the full report.
While Europe is not the region with the highest level of religious hostilities – that remains the Middle East-North Africa region – harassment and attacks against religious minorities continue in many European countries.
Nearly 2,500 people of all faiths were asked about excercising their religion at work for a nationwide study conducted by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission. The research was done to investigate visibly growing conflict over Christians’ rights to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. The results are striking: Christians are often scared to admit their beliefs!
There have been recored 3.500 church burglaries since 2010 in North Rhine-Westphalia. During the past five years in North Rhine-Westphalia 3.504 church burglaries were committed. That indicates that per year, 660 to 790 church burglaries are taking place. 80% of the 785 suspects had German nationality.
36 places of worship or devotion, schools, tombs and Christian websites were documented on L’Observatoire de la Christianophobie for January 2015 in France.
On Jan 29, 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the Resolution: „Tackling intolerance and discrimination in Europe with a special focus on Christians“. The Observatory welcomes the resolution as an important Stepp into the right direction. The resolution was adopted with 67 votes in favour, 2 against and 15 abstentions.
While 30% of the population agree, 67% disagree with the de-Christianisation of religious and cultural traditions. 47% of Germans think that Germany is not self-confident enough with its Christian traditions.
The international Catholic charity and Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) published a report entitled Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014, which was first presented on November 5th, 2014. Read in the following the Report’s concerns regarding Germany.
The international Catholic charity and Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) published a report entitled Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014, which was first presented on November 5th, 2014. Read in the following the Report’s concerns regarding The Netherlands.
The international Catholic charity and Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) published a report entitled Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014, which was first presented on November 5th, 2014. Read in the following the Report’s concerns regarding France.
The international Catholic charity and Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) published a report entitled Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014, which was first presented on November 5th, 2014. The Observatory provided data for the European region to the report. Find here a summary of the key findings, including information on the seven countries, ACN finds worrying in Europe.
The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe takes place in 2014 in Warsaw from 22 September to 3 October. The Observatory is present and intervenes on topics of tolerance and freedom of conscience and religion. Please read our interventions here.
A Christian registrar was dismissed for indicating she would not be willing to perform same-sex marriages. Finally, she was reinstated after a successful appeal in which it was ruled that her employer had failed to take a “balanced view” of her religious beliefs.
The Observatory welcomes the decision of the ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which underlines the importance of the institutional dimension of freedom of religion. This judgment is a step towards reasonable accomodation of faith in contemporary society and will hopefully serve as a model in similar debates and decisions in the future. Read here a press release of the European Center for Law and Justice which acted as a party in the legal proceedings.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will publish its 2013 annual report on hate crimes on November 17, 2014. The report provides an overview of data collected on hate crimes, and of responses to hate crimes. The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe submitted a 170-page report to support the OSCE/ODIHR publication on April 9th, 2014.
Read here key excerpts of the European Parliament resolution of 11 December 2013 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2012 and the European Union's policy on the matter (2013/2152(INI)) on Freedom of Religion.
On 9 December 2013 Court of Appeals in Warsaw upheld a District Court judgment from 14th January refusing far-left politicians’ claims. They blamed the cross hanging in the plenary hall of Sejm (lower chamber of the Polish Parliament) to be an infringement of the freedom of religion and having an offensive character for them as for atheists. According to the Court, presence of religious symbols in public square e.g. in Sejm does not infringe freedom of religion neither may be considered as a personal offence.
The Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe reaffirmed in its Dec. 6 session in Kyiv the importance of Freedom of Religion and concluded to work towards a greater inclusion of faith and public policy.
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians welcomes the 2012 Hate Crime Report released by OSCE/ODIHR* on November 15, 2013. „This report creates awareness – and awareness is the first step towards a remedy,“ says the Observatory’s director Dr. Gudrun Kugler.
Based on the OSCE/ODIHR Hate Crime Report 2012 released in November 2013 German Media report about 414 hate crimes in Germany in 2012. The hate crimes range from violent attacks (18) to vandalism including spray-painting to theft. They are mainly directed against Catholic and Protestant churches, church buildings and cemeteries. One attack was directed against a Orthodox church.
On May 21 and 22, 2013, OSCE met in Tirana to discuss Tolerance and Non-Discrimination. The Observatory's director Dr. Gudrun Kugler was invited to give a keynote address in the session on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians.
On April 24th, 2013, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Resolution on the Protection of Religious Communities Against Violence (Resolution 1928 (2013)) in its 14th sitting. Reporteur was Italian Mr. Luca Volonte. Read below the highlights of the text.
Member of Parliament Marc Lefur (UMP, Côtes d’Armor) asked Minister of Interior Manuel Vals in a written inquiry on the numbers of acts of vandalism against Christian sites in France. In April of 2013, the minister replied saying that 667 attacks were recorded in 2012, of which 543 were directed against Christian sites.
An analysis of data from Pew Research studies finds that government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion are more than two times lower in countries in which Catholics are the majority population than in countries where Catholics are a minority.
The Italian Observatory “No Cristianofobia” has highlighted Radio Vatican’s report that 2012 has been the worst year for religious freedom in Spain with at least sixteen incidents of attacks against religious symbols or clergy though the article focuses on three. Of these the trial against the Bishop of Alcala de Henares Reig Pla who was accused, and absolved, of making homophobic statements, is exemplary of the increasing intolerance of freedom of conscience and thought to be found in Spain.
Upon the request of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians submitted 67 individually documented hate crimes and hate incidents on March 1st.
Read here the Observatory's analyses of the four cases on freedom of religion as they were decided by the European Court of Human Rights on January 15th, 2013: What happened, what was decided, what is good about the rulings, what is a disappointment, and what do Church leaders say about it.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ms. Lilian Ladele had not been discriminated against when loosing her job for not being willing to officiate at a same-sex wedding. Two judges disagree and explain in a minority opinion that in her case wrongly "gay rights" trumped over fundamental human rights.
The data contained in the report “Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2011-2012” shows an increase of 26% in religious hate crimes. 876 charges with a religious aggravation in 2011-12 were analysed by the Justice Analytical Services. As per previous years attacks on Catholics constitute the largest identified group, with 509 such incidents accounting for 58.1% of all such offences. Anti-Catholic attacks are more prevalent than attacks on all other religious groups combined.
Christians events, prayer meetings or Church services as well as Christian manifestations which are sometimes interupted or attacked. The Observatory recorded such hate incidents in several European countries, for example in Austria, Germany and Spain.
The US Catholic bishops' conference has launched the initiative "First American Freedom" to protect freedom of religion. "Today, religious freedom is under threat throughout the United States—at all levels of government, federal, state, and local—and abroad," they say, and announce to work towards a protection of religious freedom through "prayer, education, and public action."
This October, the Observatory submitted a complaint against Germany to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Below you find the list of infringements on human rights with regards to Christianity which we monitor in Germany.
The Oct 2nd seminar, which was organised by different politicial groups together with the COMECE, concluded that Christians in Europe are being more and more sidelined and marginalised, partly by social hostility and partly by government restrictions. Significant efforts are required to eliminate discriminatory actions against Christians. Freedom of religion has to be ensured not only for minorities, but for Christians as well. Public attention must be raised to issues which are not covered by the media and a permanent dialogue should be established on major issues. Likewise, cross-party initiatives must also play a stronger role in this process.
The Pew Research Center finds that United Kingdom, France, Germany, Greece and Romania are among the countries of high and growing social hostility against religion.
Find here the intervention of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe on September 26th, 2012, in Warsaw. Topic: Freedom of Assembly of Christians violated West of Vienna.
The US-based Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute published in 2012 a report on "Religious Hostility in America". Read here the executive summary.
The ECtHR hears four cases of religious discrimination of Christians at work against the UK. Read here the press release of the European Center for Law and Justice, including a summary of the four cases.
Since the creation of the under-directory for general information (SDIG - Sous-direction de l’information générale) on 1st July 2008, a periodical state of affairs of attacks on places of worship and tombs in France has been conducted by introducing a constant inventory method. Profanations of places of cult are a classic form of racist and anti-Semitic violence, but the Christian symbols are from far the most targeted, from 82% to 90% of the cases depending of the year.
On June 28, 2012 Italy’s foreign affairs office officially opened an Observatory on Religious Liberty focussing on all countries of the world but Italy. The observatory aims to support Italian international diplomacy with regards to violations against religious liberty.
On 26 - 27 June 2012 the OSCE/ODIHR held a meeting entitled "The Role of Civil Society in Combating Hate Crimes against Christians", hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. The seminar gathered more than 40 civil society organizations dealing with intolerance against Christians in the OSCE area. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness on the concept of hate crimes and different forms of intolerance, and to train the participants in how to document such crimes. The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians participated.
The European Court of Human Rights published a judgment in the important case of Fernandez-Martínez c. Espagne (application no 56030/07) in which it concluded by six votes to one that “the choice of the bishop not to renew the contract of a teacher who is a married priest and activist of the Pro-Optional Celibacy Movement comes under the principle of religious freedom, as protected by the Convention”.