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.